(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)

Friday, December 13, 2019

Trump says Greta Thunberg should 'chill,' go to movies

Yahoo – AFP, Chris STEIN, December 12, 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has become known for her fiery
speeches to world leaders (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)

Washington (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Thursday slammed Time magazine's naming of Greta Thunberg as 2019 Person of the Year, saying the Swedish teen climate activist should "chill" and go see a movie.

"So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!" he tweeted.

Thunberg's reply came minutes later, when she changed the bio of her Twitter account to: "A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend."

The exchange came after Time on Wednesday the 16-year-old, who last year launched the "Fridays For Future," protest against global warming that has since grown into a worldwide movement and seen her tipped as a potential Nobel laureate.

The backlash on social media was swift, with numerous critics assailing Trump for what they saw as bullying, although some high profile tweeters came to the president's defense.

"There's a reason we don't let people run for president until age 35. Greta is a good example," said Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip.

Thunberg has become known for her fiery speeches to world leaders, and was that day in Madrid, where she accused rich countries of "misleading" people into thinking they are taking meaningful action against climate change.

In perhaps her most iconic appearance, she laid in to world leaders at another UN climate summit in New York September, thundering "How dare you?" in accusation of their failure to take action to stop runaway global warming.

'So extreme'

She had arrived in the US at the end of a two-week journey on a sailboat -- refusing to fly because of the carbon emissions caused by planes.

Her rhetoric, youth and diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, have made her a frequent target of critics.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed her as a "brat," and following her September speech in New York, Trump quipped that she is a "very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."

Thunberg's struggle began quietly in August 2018 when she skipped school for the first three weeks, and then on Fridays spent the day outside Sweden's parliament with a sign labeled "School strike for climate."

In a November interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America, where she had spent almost three months, Thunberg said Trump's climate change denialism had helped galvanize her movement.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," she said.

Thunberg and Trump were briefly in the same small room as they arrived for the New York summit, with video showing the teen glowering at the president as he passed by with his entourage.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," Thunberg told AFP.

"Because it feels like if we just continue like now, nothing's going to happen. So maybe he is helping."

Related Articles:

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is Time' 2019 person of the year

"... Question Three: Is there life on other planets?

... I will tell you, as long as you stay in 3D, you'll still be getting in little metal cans and air suits and going to planets. As soon as you begin the quantum age, however, you will simply wish yourself there, because you will be entangled with everything and can go with intent. If you don't believe this now, you will later, for what I give you is true. It may be lifetimes and lifetimes from now, but the group that is before me is the group that is going to come back over and over. The difference is that you're done coming back in an old energy. This is a new energy.

When you come back, dear one, everything you know will be in your DNA and be on top [available]. You're not going to have to go through what you did before. As soon as you decide to look around and open the door [metaphor for free choice to awaken], everything you've learned this time around will be right there.

This is the attribute of what you would call "a child of new consciousness," which you have labeled with a color - indigo. The child remembers who they are. They are conceptual, and you believe they have to be taught from scratch! Hardly! They remember! Do you understand what is taking place? We told you this last time, but we want to review something with you: The animal on the prairie drops its calf and within hours, the calf is up, running with the herd. Did you know that the calf instantly knows who its enemies are, what water to drink that doesn't smell right, and what berries to eat that are not poison? Where did that come from? How did that infant animal know these things? The answer is that this information was biologically inherited. You call it instinct. But when you have a Human baby - nothing! It doesn't know anything but that it's hungry. It requires 20 years of teaching! Aren't you tired of that? Did you ever think about why the animals have so much knowledge to begin with and you have so little? Does that seem correct for the top of the evolutionary ladder? It's time for that to change.

You're starting to see it, even with the indigos. They come in knowing. That's why they're so impatient. You're trying to teach them things they already know instinctively. Just like the calf on the prairie, they come in knowing. Some of them try to teach you. That doesn't always go well. That was question three...."

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Nepal makes first arrest over 'menstruation huts' after woman dies

Yahoo – AFP, December 6, 2019

Many communities in Nepal view menstruating women as impure and in some
remote areas they are forced to sleep in a hut away from the home, following a
centuries-old tradition known as "chhaupadi" (AFP Photo/PRAKASH MATHEMA)

Nepali police have detained the brother-in-law of a woman who died in a 'menstruation hut' in what is believed to be the first arrest over the outlawed tradition, officials said Friday.

Many communities in Nepal view menstruating women as impure and in some remote areas they are forced to sleep in a hut away from the home, following a centuries-old tradition known as "chhaupadi".

The practice leads to the death of women every year due to smoke inhalation, snake bites and even attack by animals.

Parbati Buda Rawat, 21, was found dead on Sunday morning in the western Accham district in a smoke-filled hut because of a fire she had lit to keep warm.

"We arrested the brother-in law of the victim yesterday for investigation after suspecting his involvement in forcing the deceased to stay in chhaupadi shed," local police official Janak Bahadur Shahi told AFP.

"I believe this is the first arrest in such a case."

If convicted, the man will serve a three-month jail sentence and be fined 3,000 rupees ($27) under a law introduced last year against anyone caught imposing chhaupadi.

"It is positive to see the police act proactively and it will help discourage people from following the tradition. But there is a long way to go to end it," said Radha Poudel, an activist working against chhaupadi.

Rawat's death is at least the third this year. Two more women have died of smoke inhalation in menstruation huts in neighbouring districts.

However, Poudel said that many deaths go unreported and authorities often sympathise with family members in reported cases.

Chhaupadi was outlawed in 2005 but is still enforced in parts of Nepal, particularly in remote and conservative western regions.

It is linked to Hinduism and considers women untouchable during menstruation and after childbirth.

Women are banished from the home, barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men, and forced to sleep in basic huts known as chhau goth.

Tobacco firms who bribe retailers can expect hefty fines

DutchNews, December 6, 2019 

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Product safety board NVWA is going to clamp down on tobacco manufacturers who are bribing tobacconists to sell more cigarettes, the Telegraaf reports. 

The illegal bonuses can go up to as much as €3,000 a year if tobacconists manage to sell a previously agreed number of cigarettes, the paper said. 

The practice is illegal, the NVWA said, because it contravenes the advertising ban on cigarettes. The watchdog found out about the illegal payments last year when journalists queried tobacconists in Nijmegen and Amsterdam about the practice. 

Tobacco firms can expect an initial fine of €45,000 and repeat offenders can be fined up to €450,000. The NVWA will also be looking possible illegal deals with petrol stations and supermarkets, the organisation said in a statement

Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis said the practice is ‘worrying as it is aimed at keeping smokers addicted’. He said  he is happy the NVWA is giving off a clear signal that the illegal contracts between retailers and manufacturers will not be tolerated. 

Of the ten tobacconists involved in the scheme, most were franchises of big chains, which, apart from bonuses to the shopkeeper, were given an additional payment in the form of free cigarettes. They will escape a fine, however, because the initiative came from the manufacturers, the paper said. 


The NVWA does have the tobacconists in its sights for selling cigarettes to people under the age of 18, however, and is planning to continue to use mystery guests to check if retailers stick to the rules. 

Earlier experiments showed that 17-year-olds, despite showing an ID, were sold cigarettes in 35% of cases. Tobacconists who transgress can expect fines from January 1 2020, the NVWA said. 

The Dutch government is trying to discourage smoking and among the measures in the prevention programme Preventieakkoord is the closure of designated smoking spaces in public buildings and companies, which will come into effect in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Friday, December 6, 2019

UN says online anti-vaxxers fuelling Samoa measles deaths

Yahoo – AFP, December 5, 2019

The measles outbreak in Samoa has claimed 62 lives since mid-October

Social media giants must crack down on anti-vaccination posts that are fuelling Samoa's deadly measles epidemic from afar, UNICEF's Pacific islands chief said Thursday.

Sheldon Yett, the regional representative for the UN children's agency, said "incredibly irresponsible" online material on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram had exacerbated the Samoa measles outbreak -- which has claimed 62 lives since mid-October -- by discouraging immunisation.

"It's quite clear that they have a corporate responsibility to step up to the plate and make sure that populations, particularly vulnerable populations, get accurate information that's going to keep children alive," Yett told AFP.

Immunisation rates in Samoa dropped to just over 30 percent before the outbreak, well below accepted best practice of around 90 percent, making the island nation extremely vulnerable to infection.

The World Health Organisation blamed an anti-vaccine messaging campaign, which Yett said was carried out largely online by overseas-based activists.

"It's quite obvious that there are very loud people on social media making very false claims about vaccines," he said.

"Unfortunately it's found a ready audience in Samoa, where some people are suspicious about the quality of healthcare and may have issues with local (vaccine) providers."

Immunisation rates in Samoa dropped to just over 30 percent before the outbreak, 
well below accepted best practice of around 90 percent, making the island nation 
extremely vulnerable to infection (AFP Photo/ALLAN STEPHEN)

He said activists posting anti-vaccine material from wealthy developed countries such as the United States and Australia needed to realise the impact of their actions in developing nations.

"It's devastating, it can be a death sentence for a child here where there's low immunisation and possibly other health issues going on in the background," he said from the capital Apia.

'No easy fix'

Yett said suspicion of vaccines in Samoa stemmed from a case last year when two babies died after receiving measles shots, leading to an eight-month suspension of the country's immunisation programme.

Subsequent investigations found there was no problem with the vaccine itself, but the nurses administering it accidentally mixed it with anaesthetic, instead of water.

However, trust in the immunisation programme was dented and anti-vaxxers stepped up efforts to push their agenda online, creating what Yett described as "a perfect formula" for an uncontrollable epidemic.

The activists have also hindered efforts to control the outbreak, with one prominent Australian-based blogger last week comparing compulsory vaccinations to Nazi Germany and saying "fascism is well and truly alive in Samoa".

Yett said health authorities' focus at the moment was containing an epidemic 
that was still raging (AFP Photo/ALLAN STEPHEN)

Others have promoted quick remedies such as "kangen water", an alkaline water which supporters say can cure measles, despite no scientific evidence.

Yett said health authorities' focus at the moment was containing an epidemic that was still raging, resulting in fresh infections and child deaths every day.

But he said once it was over there had to be discussion with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about their approach to anti-vaccine material.

He said informed debate was important but it was wrong to allow online activists to question the effectiveness of vaccines, which the WHO estimates have saved the lives of 21 million children over the past 20 years.

"It's not easy, nobody wants to be a censor," he said.

"Companies have a responsibility to do it, but we also have to be honest and say there's no easy fix where they can flick a switch."

He conceded the clicks generated by heated online debate about vaccines could prevent the platforms from wanting to take swift action on the issue.

"We shouldn't be naive, there are many counter incentives here for social media giants as well," he said.

Related Articles:

Question (2003): Dear Kryon, I have a new grandson. He's going for his first vaccination in the next few weeks. If we're beginning to transmute toxins with reconnections to our endocrine system through our DNA, then what happens to our babies, who by law have to be vaccinated? What are your thoughts on this subject?

Answer: First, know that vaccinations are a God-given science that humanity earned. They're a tried and proven homeopathic method that have been with you for years. You were probably vaccinated yourself, and it worked.

We have three answers: (1) God is not in a vacuum. Even the vaccinated Human Being who's older can modify and rework their DNA. So there's no time limit, and there are no rules that say "Once vaccinated, you're ruined." (2) The Human who is of the age of awareness can say, even as they are vaccinated, "Let nothing inappropriate enter my chemistry." This is a conscious instruction given to your "intelligent cellular structure" (the same one responsible for kinesiology and homeopathic results). This will result in your cells only using what they need and casting away everything else. (3) Finally, about babies: There has been a push by your science lately to vaccinate against many things at the same time. You'd be advised to seek out a doctor who will only vaccinate your child for only the basic diseases that have been known in the last 40 years. Eliminate the vaccinations for the new ones. This leaves you with approximately seven or eight - the very ones that have been used for years. What your science is not appreciating yet is the results of combining all the vaccination substances together. There's a problem that will show itself in time. Stick with the basic ones.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Babies born on floor as Zimbabwe's health system totters

Yahoo – AFP, Ish MAFUNDIKWA, with Zinyange AUNTONY in Bulawayo, December 4, 2019

Where a child is born: Esther Gwena, 69, who acts as a midwife but has no
training, lays down sheets in her rundown apartment -- a makeshift maternity
unit (AFP Photo/Jekesai NJIKIZANA)

Harare (AFP) - The floor is dusty, the walls filthy and the furniture decrepit, but for two weeks last month a tiny flat in a Harare township was transformed into a maternity clinic where scores of babies were born.

Its owner, 69-year-old Esther Gwena, says she helped to deliver 250 infants as Zimbabwe's health sector tottered -- a feat that earned comparisons to Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing.

Hundreds of junior medics at state hospitals began a strike three months ago because their salaries -- less than $200 a month -- are not enough to live on in a country gripped by 500 percent inflation.

Nurses are only working two days a week.

Those who can't afford private care -- the majority of the 14 million people reeling under an economic crisis compounded by acute food shortages -- suffer at home or seek help from people like Gwena.

Senior doctors, in a letter last week, said state hospitals had become a "death trap" and warned of a "slow genocide".

Gwena, a widow and member of the local Apostolic Faith sect, is a self-taught midwife.

When the health services strike peaked last month, she came to the rescue.

In need: Monica Bepu, 33, heavily pregnant with her second 
child, sits on a bench in the passage outside Esther Gwena's 
two-room flat in Harare (AFP Photo/Jekesai NJIKIZANA)

'I had to do something'

"A man came to me and said there were two women in advanced labour at (a nearby clinic) but the place was closed because the nurses were on strike," she told AFP in her two-room flat in Mbare township.

She rushed there and found that one of the women had a baby which had died.

"I took the other one to my place, where I helped her. The baby survived. From that time, I knew I had to do something," she said.

Word that she was helping deliver babies for free spread quickly.

The state-owned television ZBC described her as "a modern Zimbabwean version of Florence Nightingale" and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa visited Gwena and donated food, detergents and blankets.

A funeral services company chipped in with a mobile water tank and pitched a tent outside to serve as a waiting room for women before they went into advanced labour.

"I helped to deliver 250 babies ... (they) are alive and kicking and at home with their mothers," Gwena said.

Two weeks later, the government asked her to stop after a nearby maternity clinic reopened.

Winnie Denhere, 35, cradled her two-day-old baby boy outside the clinic, where she had taken him for an immunisation injection.

"Everything went very well, she didn't ask us for money," she said, speaking of Gwena, who brought her child into the world.

A moment for prayer: Gwena belongs to an Apostolic religious sect where she 
says she got her calling to take up midwifery. She says she has delivered as 
many as 250 children (AFP Photo/Jekesai NJIKIZANA)

'People dying'

But while some laud Gwena as a selfless do-gooder, doctors worry that she exposed herself, the mothers, the babies to infection.

"We need to do something about our facilities so no one goes to her," Harare's director of medical services Prosper Chonzi, said.

Medicines have been in short supply and broken machines go unrepaired.

The government has fired 448 junior doctors for striking.

Senior doctors last week also stopped work in protest over the sacking of junior colleagues. Dozens marched in Harare on Monday.

"People dying has become the order of the day in our hospitals," said the vice-president of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association Raphael Magota.

He told AFP machines were breaking down and that intensive care units were only able to treat two or three people "due to lack of equipment".

A senior doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the situation has become untenable.

Gwena collects water in a bucket as she prepares for a long day (AFP Photo/

"There is no public health in Zimbabwe at the moment; everything has come to a standstill," he said.

Even the scarce equipment is often not right.

"One needs gloves that fit just right when performing delicate operations, but we get old gloves that are too big," said another doctor.

A UN special rapporteur on food security, Hilal Elver, last week spoke of "disturbing information" that public hospitals had exhausted food stocks, forcing them to seek humanitarian aid and that medical equipment in some cases was "no longer operational".

In the second largest city of Bulawayo, Zimbabweans living abroad are helping in a small way by crowdfunding and sending money back home to offer health care for the vulnerable.

One such initiative is Citizwean Clinic, which opened its doors last month and attended to hundreds of patients in the first five days -- providing free consultation and drugs.

"We go to the hospital these days it's bad, there are no doctors. We heard that there were doctors here," said hypertensive patient Elina Dzingire, 63.

"We've really been helped here," she told AFP from the clinic in the city's Cowdray Park township.

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo admitted the situation in hospitals is constrained but says the government will soon advertise the posts left vacant by the sacked doctors.

In Gaza, 'American hospital' fuels suspicions

Yahoo – AFP, Adel Zaanoun with Joe Dyke in Jerusalem, December 4, 2019

Palestinian construction workers in October at the site of the future medical facility
next to the Erez Israel-Gaza crossing (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

Erez (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Volunteers with a US Christian charity group pose for a selfie in front of tents and crates of equipment to build a contentious new field hospital on the Israel-Gaza border.

The facility, to be located right next to a crossing into Israel, has rare joint support from the Jewish state and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas as part of an informal truce deal.

But its existence, and the way it has been advertised by the US non-government group running it, is fuelling suspicions and rumours among some Palestinians.

Nicknamed the "American hospital" by Palestinians, it is funded by the evangelical Friend Ships organisation based in the US state of Louisiana.

Pictures posted on the Christian group's Facebook page show young volunteers in dark t-shirts hammering pegs into the ground and erecting a row of tents.

The dusty 10-acre (four hectare) site is right next to the Erez Israel-Gaza crossing, making access possible from both sides -- though likely only with Israeli permission.

The charity website said the hospital would offer telemedicine for remote consultations with specialists worldwide. It could later include cancer care as well as less conventional offers, including treatments that involve horse-riding.

The medical camp would be staffed heavily by volunteers after they have received 12 weeks training, it said, urging Christians to sign up.

"We will offer services to the public four days a week," the website said -- promising that on their days off volunteers can also enjoy cultural experiences.

"For those who would like to tour, you will have the option of making your own arrangements to spend three days on your own, experiencing Israel."

A post on Facebook by the group said volunteers would learn about the region and "become part of what God is doing there today".

The organisation, which previously operated a tent hospital on the Israeli side of its disputed border with Syria, did not respond to a request for comment and AFP was not permitted to visit.

The timeline for opening was unclear.

COGAT, the Israeli body responsible for coordinating access to Gaza, said the hospital was "not connected to Israel".

'Not needed'

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

Hamas does not recognise Israel's right to exist, while Israel's new defence minister, Naftali Bennett, has pledged a hard line.

Yet the hospital is indicative of a thawing after a longer-term truce was brokered this year by Qatar, the United Nations and others.

The facility has rare joint support from the Jewish state and Gaza's Islamist rulers 
Hamas as part of an informal truce deal (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

Gaza, which has been blockaded by Israel for a decade, suffers crippling energy shortages and high poverty.

Its medical sector is overstretched, with hospitals chronically short of drugs and others goods, many of which are restricted by Israel.

If successful, the new tent hospital could provide an alternative for those in need, while its close proximity to Israel would assuage the Jewish state's fears over imports being syphoned off by Hamas.

Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas's deputy head in Gaza, told journalists in a recent briefing they would "evaluate the work of the hospital and its services to the public".

"If it is not the required level we will work to close it," he warned.

An official at the Hamas-run health ministry insisted they would oversee the facility, for which the first equipment was imported in September.

But multiple aid sources said there had been little coordination with the United Nations or the international humanitarian agencies which work in Gaza.

A humanitarian aid staffer who worked in Gaza pointed out the location was only a few minutes drive from two Palestinian hospitals inside the enclave.

"What Gaza needs is money to pay its medical staff and access to more equipment and drugs, not another basic hospital," he said.

Palestinian split

The initiative has met with fierce opposition from some quarters.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement, which is based in the West Bank and opposes Hamas, even alleged it would be an American "military base".

"Hamas is committing a crime against the Palestinian cause and against our people with this approval," Fatah said in a statement on the new hospital.

Multiple statements by Abbas's government have warned of "dubious intentions," suggesting, without citing evidence, that Washington was involved or that the facility was part of attempts by the US and Israel to weaken the Palestinian cause.

Abbas cut off talks with the United States in late 2017 and accuses President Donald Trump of trying to destroy Palestinian hopes of statehood.

Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas's forces in a 2007 near civil war, but the international community has continued to call for his internationally recognised Palestinian Authority (PA) to return to power there.

Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a politics professor in Gaza, said for Hamas the hospital was a tangible result of the truce and could allow patients who are refused Israeli travel permits to get treatment.

But Abbas, he said, fears that the United States and Israel are seeking to de facto recognise Hamas' rule in Gaza.

"The PA is not part of the deal and worries that Hamas is competing with them to represent the Palestinian people," Abu Saada said.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Malawi tobacco pressured as US butts in over labour abuses

Yahoo – AFP, Jack MCBRAMS, December 1, 2019

Tobacco is known locally in Malawi as "green gold", but the southern African nation
must wrestle with allegations of child labour if the industry is to have a future

Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) - Malawi is being forced to confront child and forced labour practices after the US restricted tobacco imports from the impoverished southeastern African nation over allegations workers including children were being exploited.

Although exports to the United States make up only a small part of Malawi's total, the US move could make it harder selling its tobacco elsewhere and has sparked anxiety among farmers who fear they will be forced to accept lower prices.

As tobacco, known locally as "green gold", is Malawi's top crop in terms of employment, foreign exchange earnings (60 percent) and tax revenue (25 percent), any trouble the sector runs into could quickly reverberate throughout the economy.

The US decision piles even more pressure on the tobacco sector, already confronted with global anti-tobacco campaigns.

The trouble began in late October. British law firm Leigh Day announced it was preparing a landmark class action case against British American Tobacco (BAT) on behalf of 2,000 Malawian farmers, including hundreds of children, for forced labour and poverty wages.

BAT, which says it "takes the issue of child labour extremely seriously", has denied any wrongdoing and noted that it buys tobacco from Malawi via international dealers who are required adhere to a code of conduct that does not tolerate child and forced labour.

The US suspended imports of tobacco from Malawi, saying it had information that reasonably indicated it was being produced using forced labour and forced child labour.

Third of children work

According to a survey conducted in 2017 by the country's statistics agency the use of child labour in Malawi is extensive. It found that 38 percent of the country’s children aged between five and 17 were working.

Although the survey did not provide specific information about the tobacco sector, it is widely acknowledged that child labour is a problem.

Betty Chinyamunyamu, who heads an association of smallholder farmers, said incidents of child labour occur despite efforts to eliminate the practice.

"In some cases, farmers may think that that is the way things are supposed to be without knowing that they are engaging in child labour," she said.

Tobacco and Allied Workers Union general secretary Raphael Sandram accused the government of dithering in addressing child labour in the industry.

"In our labour report in 2015, we raised the issue that there were some irregularities in the industry that government needed to address," he said.

"The fact that the government did not respond according to the requirements of the US government means that they delayed to act on these issues. But these issues have been there for a long time," he said.

Malawian children carrying tobacco leaves on a farm in 2009. A government survey 
conducted two years ago found that more than one in three childen work (AFP Photo/

Pushing for compliance

Agriculture Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa acknowledged pockets of child and forced labour in Malawi, but downplayed the US action saying it "is not a ban, they are just pushing for compliance".

US authorities said firms wishing to import Malawi tobacco into the country will need to demonstrate it was not produced with forced labour. But what will be needed to convince US authorities and how much effort firms will be willing to take is unclear.

Nankhumwa said 80 percent of Malawi's tobacco was grown under a special scheme which is free from child or forced labour.

"So, we are only grappling with the 20 percent within which there is also some kind of compliance," he said.

The law firm Leigh Day described a tobacco farming system that puts farmers under extreme pressure.

Leaf buyers who sell to multinational tobacco firms make contracts with landowners who then engage tenant farmers who spend 10 months on the plantations. Each tenant farmer is allotted around a hectare but needs four workers to work that amount of land.

"However, the amount the tenant farmers are paid for their crop is too low for them to be able to afford to employ workers to help on the farms. As a result, they have no option but to rely on their children to work on the farms," said Leigh Day in a statement.

Bone of contention

Nankhumwa pledged Malawi would conduct the necessary policy reviews to protect the tobacco industry and bring the country into compliance with global standards.

"The government is reviewing the tenancy system, which is a bone of contention but also perceived to be catalyst for child and forced labour," he said.

Farmers -- who are starting to prepare their fields for the next planting season -- are distraught at the prospect of being squeezed further by falling prices.

"We are baffled and confused," said Alick Yagontha, a small farmer in the northern Rumphi district who has been growing tobacco for two decades and harvested 28,000 kilograms this year.

He fears there will be "no future for tobacco farming in Malawi" if prices fall.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Japan store to replace staff 'period badges' after uproar

Yahoo – AFP, November 29, 2019

One of Daimaru's upscale department stores in the western city of Osaka adopted
'period badges' proposed by female employees (AFP Photo/Kazuhiro NOGI)

Tokyo (AFP) - A Japanese department store has scrapped a "period badge" for employees that let colleagues know they were menstruating, after the policy sparked an internet storm, a spokeswoman said Friday.

One of Daimaru's upscale department stores in the western city of Osaka began the programme last month, adopting an idea proposed by female employees.

The voluntary badges were intended to alert colleagues to the idea that coworkers with severe menstrual pains -- or other period-related needs -- might require longer breaks or extra help lifting heavy objects.

But after local media reported the policy, prompting outrage on Twitter, several customers rang the store to question the merit of what is now dubbed a "period badge".

"We are not scrapping the programme itself because it is strictly for internal communication, among those who work here," a company spokeswoman told AFP.

But she said the store will use something other than the badge.

"Most of our staff are women and staff members support this programme. We will continue in a better way," she said.

The idea came as the luxury store prepared to launch a new section for products related to female hygiene on a floor dedicated to young women's fashion.

During its planning, staff openly discussed their experiences with periods and ways to improve the work environment.

To launch the section, the store worked with "Seiri-chan", a comic-book character whose name means "Ms. Period", which has been made into a new movie.

The store then created a badge that announced the start of the section's opening from November 22 on one side, with the pink character on the other.

"There was a time when speaking openly about periods just did not happen. Now we can do this," the Daimaru spokeswoman said.

"Everyone experiences periods differently. Through discussions, we believe this can lead to greater understanding of our experiences," she said.

Government gives green light to new healthy food logo

DutchNews, November 29, 2019 

A Nutri-score logo on yoghurt. Photo: Cz ja [CC0] via Wikimedia Commons

The government has given the green light to a new system of food labeling which it hopes will help consumers make ‘healthy choices’ when it comes to buying food. 

Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis announced the government’s decision in favour of the French food labelling system Nutri-Score on Thursday and said the definitive logo should see an end to the confusion surrounding food quality logos. 

Supermarkets had earlier opposed the system because it includes a red logo denoting unhealthy products while critics claimed the way the system is set up would only increase confusion, the NRC reported. 

Nutri-Score, which replaces manufacturers’ own ‘tick’ (V) logo, grades food between A (green) and E (red). The scores indicate calorific content, the amount of sugar, saturated fat, salt, protein, fruit, vegetables and nuts. A is the healthiest option while red means the product is bad for your health. 


Critics of the new label said the logo would confuse consumers because the new system looks at separate ingredients. That could lead to a green A or B label for products that fit into unhealthy eating patterns (such as pizza and sugary cereals) while tea and cheese could end up with a yellow C label, the NRC said. 

Blokhuis has said that the logo will be adjusted to make a better fit with the Schijf van Vijf, the official Dutch recommendations on healthy eating, which takes eating patterns into account as well as ingredients. 

France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain have already adopted the system. Its introduction in the Netherlands is part of the agreement reached by ministers, consumer groups and industry last year to tackle unhealthy eating habits. Half of Dutch people are currently overweight.