Tennis legend Margaret Court speaks out against transgender athletes, says LGBTQ agenda is “of the devil”

Thursday, January 02, 2020 by: Ethan Huff

(Natural News) While it’s becoming increasingly rare for self-proclaiming pastors and ministers to speak out against the LGBTQ agenda, one fiery preacher from Australia who’s also a former professional tennis player is boldly telling it like it is, no matter the consequences.

Margaret Court, who heads up Victory Life Church in Perth, recently delivered a message to her congregation about the transgender athlete trend, warning that it and the “LGBT rights” movement are both “of the devil.”

The 77-year-old tennis legend, who won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles during her heyday, told her audience that athletes, both male and female, only stand to be harmed by their acceptance of this onslaught of perversion that’s washing over society like a tidal wave of wickedness.

“You know with that LGBT, they’ll wish they never put the T on the end of it because, particularly in women’s sports, they’re going to have so many problems,” Court proclaimed.

Court also specifically addressed the transgender targeting of children, warning that children as young as seven are being “transitioned” into “other” genders by child-abusing “parents” and “medical professionals.”

“It’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm and they start to question, ‘what am I?’” Court stated from her pulpit.

LGBT is “not of God,” Court says

In the past, Court has delivered sermons condemning homosexuality as well, including loud-and-proud lesbian tennis players whom she says have a negative and corrupting influence on younger tennis players, not to mention their younger fans.

“You know, even that LGBT in the schools, it’s of the devil, it’s not of God,” Court is quoted as having stated, earning her plenty of condemnation from the Cult of LGBTQ and its “allies.”

Billie Jean King, a 12-time Grand Slam tennis champion, last year called for Court’s name to be removed from the Australian Open Show Court in Melbourne simply because she finds Court’s viewpoints on homosexuality and LGBTQ “offensive.”

But none of this phases Court, who’s repeatedly doubled down on her convictions and even become bolder in the face of persecution from the LGBTQ mafia.

“You have got young people taking hormones and having changes, by the time they are 17 they are thinking, ‘Now I’m a boy and really I was a girl.’ Because you know what, God made us that way,” Court has stated about transgender regret.

And the reason why the media, academia, and governments are going along with this perversion is because “the devil” controls these institutions, Court has further pointed out.

“The devil gets in and the media and the political, the education, TV – he wants to control a nation so he can affect people’s minds and mouths,” Court contends.

“I can go on television and if I say, ‘well, this is what the Bible says,’ well, it’s like opening a can of worms,” she further notes. “My goodness, you’ve let a torpedo off or something. No, it’s true, because they hate the word of God.”

Amazingly, Court has still been invited to attend the 2020 Australian Open as a special guest. Were she an American making such statements as an American legend, you can be sure she would not only be uninvited to such an event, but probably blacklisted for all participation in society, period.

“Evil-minded adults are trying to impose gender change on children as they are more easily persuaded without having the ability to understand the consequences,” noted one Breitbart News commenter in response to this news.

“Those promoting and enabling this to happen will be held to account once the damage they have done comes to light.”

To keep up with the latest news about what the Cult of LGBTQ is up to, be sure to check out Evil.news. (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

Breitbart.com

NaturalNews.com


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TEPCO says new leak has spilt 20,000 litres of radioactive coolant at the stricken Fukushima Nuclear Plant: It is now almost 7 years since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared everything is “under control,”

Friday, 17 January 2020

Radiation-contaminated debris and soil are stockpiled for disposal near the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Tokyo Electric Power Company says coolant has seeped out from an underground frozen soil wall built around its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The frozen soil wall came into operation four years ago. It was built to keep groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings. They were damaged by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdowns.

The utility firm, TEPCO, says it found coolant leaking at three locations from components that connect pipes in the wall. The company had noticed a reduction in coolant in its tank earlier this month and was searching for the cause. TEPCO says it believes 20,000 of 1.1 million litres of the coolant has leaked, but that this will not affect the operation of the wall. The company says it will replace the components in the wall and repair another leak that was found in December. nhk.org

Almost six years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe famously declared the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant “under control,” today it remains anything but.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) continues to face difficulties in dealing with water contaminated with radioactive substances at its crippled plant. About 18,000 tons of highly contaminated water remains accumulated in reactor buildings and other places. Abe made the  “under control,” declaration in September 2013 while Tokyo was bidding to win the 2020 Summer Games.
In reality, however, the situation is not under control even now.

In a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in June, one of its members, Nobuhiko Ban, told TEPCO officials, “I want you to show whether you have a prospect (for the reduction of contaminated water) or you have given up.” The water level did not fall as planned in an area of a basement floor at the No. 3 reactor building for two months. Asked why the level did not drop, TEPCO officials offered only vague explanations in the meeting. Ban made the remark out of irritation. Highly contaminated water that has accumulated in reactor buildings and turbine buildings is a major concern at the Fukushima plant. In addition to water that was used to cool melted nuclear fuel at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, groundwater also has flowed into those buildings through cracks. The concentration of radioactive substances in highly contaminated water is about 100 million times that of the contaminated water that has been processed and stored in tanks.

Immediately after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant in March 2011, highly contaminated water leaked into the sea through underground tunnels. As a result, radioactive substances whose concentrations were higher than allowable standards were detected in fish and other seafood. After the nuclear accident, about 100,000 tons of water initially accumulated in the basement portions of buildings that housed the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 reactors and buildings that accommodated turbines. TEPCO has removed groundwater through wells.

It also created “frozen walls” in the ground by freezing soil around the buildings.
Using those methods, the company has decreased the flow of groundwater into the buildings and, as a result, the level of highly contaminated water has dropped there. Nine years since the nuclear accident occurred, the volume of highly contaminated water in the buildings has fallen to 18,000 tons. TEPCO aims to reduce the volume further to 6,000 tons by the end of fiscal 2020. Fairwinds.org

(Click to Source)


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Thousands Of Tons Of Radioactive Fukushima Water To Be Dumped In Pacific As Independent Testing Banned

The Japanese government is refusing to allow independent testing of contaminated water found in the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, which has been leaking ever since a tsunami and earthquake devastatingly hit the facility in March 2011.

The decision not to allow independent testing was allegedly arrived to over “safety concerns” in relation to the storing and transportation of the radioactive water.

Other organizations are not permitted to carry out tests of the water…If we are going to allow external organizations to test the treated water then we would need to go through very strict procedures and due process because that water is contaminated. If it is taken outside this facility, then there need to be strict regulations. – Hideki Yagi, a spokesman for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)

However, independent environmental groups including Greenpeace and Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC) assert that this is indeed a cover-up against the true level of contamination in the water used to cool three damaged reactors.

There would need to be lots of checks because there is a lot of water, but right now it looks very much to the outside world that they are trying to cover something up – as they have a long history of doing. – Hideyuki Ban, co-director of CNIC

Although the contaminated water is deemed too dangerous to test for potency, the government of Japan and TEPCO both regard it as not too dangerous to dump into the Pacific Ocean as they likely plan to do as soon as their storage tanks reach maximum capacity in the summer of 2020.

The amount of contaminated water at Fukushima is astounding. On top of an undisclosed amount, which we still don’t know the potency of, ground water continues to seep into the basement levels of the facility with an additional 120 tons accumulating every day, according to the London Telegraph.

The decision not to allow third-party testing of the contaminated water at Fukushima is not only causing the public to lose faith in the government’s ability to safely manage emergencies, but whether Japanese citizens can trust them to tell the truth about the dangers they face as a country.

Tepco has lost trust across society in Japan as well as in the international community, including in South Korea, and providing samples for analysis would be in their best interests – unless they are covering something up…so providing samples that could verify their reports on content would go some way to demonstrating their commitment to transparency. – Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist for Greenpeace

In 2016, the Japan government estimated the cost of the Fukushima disaster to be about 21.5 trillion yen ($188 billion), nearly doubled compared to their previous projection of 11 trillion yen in 2013.

In 2012, exactly one year after the disaster, 79.6% of polled Japanese citizens favored phasing out nuclear power altogether. This led to the then-prime minister Yoshihiko Noda announcing a plan to phase out Japanese nuclear power completely by 2040. However, current prime minister Shinzo Abe walked back that statement in 2016, announcing that Japan “cannot do without” nuclear power as anywhere from 3.1-4.7% of Japan’s electricity is supplied by nuclear. By 2030, the government that number to be between 20-22%.

Since Abe’s government took power in late 2012, they have given the green light to several nuclear power plants, including the Onagawa reactor which was also damaged by the earthquake on March 11, 2011.

They claim that the disposal of Fukushima’s radioactive water will have only a “small” impact on humans, but how do we know that’s true without independent testing? How do we know what impact the radiation will have on marine life, fish, and in turn, humans who eat fish caught near the dumping site?

The Japanese government and nuclear companies want you to believe that what they’re doing is completely safe, “but that has to be full of caveats because the way that information has been presented is confusing and not transparent so ordinary people do not understand and cannot make informed decisions,” says Azby Brown, lead researcher for Safecast Japan, a Tokyo-based group which monitors radiation. (Click to Source)


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Poland defends itself against LGBT insanity while America surrenders its children to mentally ill perverts and pedophiles

Sunday, January 05, 2020 by: Ethan Huff

(Natural News) More than 80 different localities throughout the great nation of Poland have declared themselves to be “LGBTQ-free zones,” according to reports, and the rainbow brigade is not happy about it.

Disgusted with the continued spread of gross perversions like “Drag Queen Story Hour” coming out of the West, Poland is being forced to either accept or reject it – and the consensus seems to be to reject it.

Unlike the United States, where even the so-called “churches” are either ignoring, or in many cases promoting, society’s swirl down the toilet, Poland is actually trying to preserve its religious, cultural and moral heritage and set itself apart from Mystery Babylon and its doctrines of demons.

Since the LGBTQ mafia is showing no signs of letting up with its child-indoctrinating agenda, Poland, or at least parts of Poland, are taking a bold stand that’s already being condemned by the beast system that surrounds it.

The European Parliament, which is dominated by godless globalists, recently voted 463 to 107 in condemnation of Poland for its “discrimination against LGBTQ people.” A resolution also calls on the Polish government “to revoke discriminatory measures such as the ‘LGBTQ-free zones.’”

But Poland remains unphased as its government, which is controlled by “the ruling right-wing populist Law and Justice [Party],” is solidly committed to preserving a strong nationalist identity that includes total opposition to “LGBTQ ideology.”

Law and Justice chairman Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, in fact, warned back in April of an “imported” LGBTQ movement that “threatens our identity, our nation … and therefore the Polish state.”

Homosexual activists admit their strategies for forced societal conversion include “planned psychological attacks” and media “propaganda”

As you may recall, Poland aggressively cracked down on so-called “pride” marches that tried to takeover Polish streets back in the summer, condemning them as “unwelcome.” Poland has also gone against the prevailing cultural tides in other regards, including with its rejection of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

But none of this is going over well with the Cult of LGBTQ, which demands that all nations and people groups capitulate to its demands, whether that be to expose young children to salacious adult entertainment at will, or instruct them in the ways of anal sex at taxpayer-funded public schools.

Poland is having none of this, and we laud this morally rooted country for not being a collective spineless coward like the United States has become. Apparently, there are still real men in Poland who aren’t afraid to stand up for what’s right and unilaterally reject the assault of LGBTQ whenever it rears its ugly head.

Keep in mind that all of this was outlined in the 1989 book After the Ball, in which authors and homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen revealed their strategies for converting America into a godless cesspool of total LGBTQ perversion and corruption.

In the book, Kirk and Madsen called for a “conversion of the average American’s emotions, mind, and will” on the subject of LGBTQ. They explained how this could be accomplished “through a planned psychological attack in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media.”

This homo-duo went on to predict that if they could successfully “produce a major realignment solidly in favour of gay rights, the intransigents (like the racists of twenty years ago) will eventually be effectively silenced by both law and police society” – and as we can all see, this strategy has been largely successfully.

Now that the U.S. has been conquered by LGBTQ, the next step for these homo-activists is to conquer the remaining holdouts, which obviously includes Poland as well as Russia.

“The moral of this story is that unmoored from Truth, tastes can lead to turpitude, fun to social failure, and hearts to Hell – and that ideas, truly, do have consequences,” writes Selwyn Duke for The New American. (Click to Source)

For more related news about the LGBTQ takeover, subversion, and destruction of society, be sure to check out Evil.news.

Sources for this article include:

TheNewAmerican.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com


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Christians Beheaded for Christmas, The West Goes Back to Sleep

by Giulio Meotti –

  • How much bigger and more extended must this war on Christians become before the West considers it a “genocide” and acts to prevent it?
  • The day after Christians were beheaded in Nigeria, Pope Francis admonished Western society. About beheaded Christians? No. “Put down your phones, talk during meals”, the Pope said. He did not speak a single word about the horrific execution of his Christian brothers and sisters. A few days before that, Pope Francis hung a cross encircled by a life jacket in memory of migrants who lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea. He did not commemorate the lives of Christians killed by Islamic extremists with even a mention.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her priority will be fighting climate change. She did not mention persecuted Christians. Meanwhile The Economist wrote that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a passionate defender of persecuted Christians, politically “exploits” the issue.
  • “The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization [Hamas]. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference”. — Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, The New York Times, August 19, 2014.

Martha Bulus, a Nigerian Catholic woman, was going to her bridal party when she was abducted by Islamic extremists of Boko Haram. Martha and her companions were beheaded and their execution filmed. The video of the brutal murders of these 11 Christians was released on December 26 to coincide with Christmas celebrations. It is reminiscent of the images of other Christians dressed in orange jumpsuits bent on their knees on a beach, each being held by a masked, black-clad jihadist holding a knife at their throats. Their bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Libya.

On the scale of Nigeria’s anti-Christian persecution, Martha was less fortunate than another abducted girl, Leah Sharibu, who has now been in captivity nearly two years and just spent her second Christmas in the hands of Boko Haram. The reason? Leah refused to convert to Islam and deny her Christianity. Nigerian Christian leaders are also protesting the “continuous abduction of under-aged Christian girls by Muslim youths…”. These girls “are forcefully converted to Islam and taken in for marriage without the consent of their parents”.

Nigeria is experiencing an Islamist war of the extermination of Christians. So far, 900 churches in northern Nigeria have been destroyed by Boko Haram. U.S. President Donald J. Trump was informed that at least 16,000 Christians have been killed there since 2015. In one single Nigerian Catholic diocese, Maiduguri, 5,000 Christians were murdered. How much bigger and more extended must this war on Christians become before the West considers it a “genocide” and acts to prevent it?

The day after Christians were beheaded in Nigeria, Pope Francis admonished Western society. About beheaded Christians? No. “Put down your phones, talk during meals”, the Pope said. He did not speak a single word about the horrific execution of his Christian brothers and sisters. A few days before that, Pope Francis hung a cross encircled by a life jacket in memory of migrants who lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea. Last September, the Pope unveiled a monument to migrants in St. Peter’s Square, but he did not commemorate the lives of Christians killed by Islamic extremists with even a mention.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, one of the very few Catholic Church leaders who mentioned the Islamic character of this massacre, wrote, “In Nigeria, the murder of 11 Christians by mad Islamists is a reminder of how many of my African brothers in Christ live faith at the risk of their own lives.”

It is not only the Vatican that is silent. Not a single Western government found time to express horror and indignation at the beheading of Christians. “Where is the moral revulsion at this tragedy?”, asked Nigerian Bishop Matthew Kukah after the Christmas massacre. “This is part of a much wider drama we are living with on a daily basis”.

European leaders should follow the example of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who, in his first Christmas message to the nation said:

“Today of all days, I want us to remember those Christians around the world who are facing persecution. For them, Christmas Day will be marked in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her priority will be fighting climate change. She did not mention persecuted Christians. French President Emmanuel Macron in his mid-winter speech was not even able to say “Merry Christmas”.

Meanwhile, The Economist wrote that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a passionate defender of persecuted Christians, politically “exploits” the issue.

Europe’s leaders failed to condemn the barbaric execution of Christians on Christmas Day: political correctness is corroding Western society from within.

At the beginning of December, another African bishop, Justin Kientega of Burkina Faso, said: “Nobody is listening to us. Evidently, the West are more concerned with protecting their own interests”.

“Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?”, wrote Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

“In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference”.

Where were the Western governments when thousands of young Muslims entered Syria and Iraq to hunt and kill Christians and destroy their churches and communities? The West did nothing and suffered for its inaction. The Islamists started with Christians in the East and continued with “post-Christians” in the West. As the French medievalist Rémi Brague said, “The forces that want to drive Christians out of their ancestral lands would ask themselves, why not continue in the West a work so well begun in the East?”.

There has been no outrage in the West about cutting off Christian heads, only silence, interrupted by “Allahu Akbar”, gunshots and bombs. The history books of the future will not look kindly this Western betrayal — depending on who writes them. The end of the Christians of the East will be a disaster for the Church in the West. They will no longer have anyone living in their own cradle of civilization.

What would we be reading if, for instance, Christian terrorists had stopped a bus, separated the passengers according to their faith, ordered the Muslims to convert to Christianity and then murdered 11 of them? The opposite just happened in Kenya. What did we read? Nothing. On December 10, the Islamic terrorist group Al Shabaab stopped a bus in northern Kenya, then murdered only those who were not Muslims. We Westerners are usually moved by the persecution of this or that minority; why never for our Christians?

The Christianophobia of the Muslim extremists who massacre Christians in Middle East and Africa is central to a totalitarian ideology that aims to unify the Muslims of the ummah (the Islamic community) into a Caliphate, after destroying the borders of national states and liquidating “unbelievers” — Jews, Christians, and other minorities as well as “Muslim apostates”. Nigeria is now at the forefront of that drama.

“Nigeria is now the deadliest place in the world to be a Christian”, noted Emmanuel Ogebe, an attorney.

“What we have is a genocide. They are trying to displace the Christians, they are trying to possess their land and they are trying to impose their religion on the so-called infidels and pagans who they consider Christians to be”.

The West goes back to sleep. “The West opened its borders without hesitation to refugees from Muslim countries fleeing war”, wrote the economist Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy. “This seemingly virtuous Western solidarity is nevertheless selective and discriminatory”. Persecuted Christians have been abandoned by the Western governments and public squares.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently been besieged by Muslims protesting a new law that would offer citizenship to neighboring non-Muslims fleeing persecution. Tarek Fatah explained in the Toronto Sun that the Muslim outrage on the new Indian law comes from the fear “that allowing citizenship to persecuted Pakistani Christians, Hindus and Sikhs would increase the non-Muslim population of the country and thus dilute their veto power they’ve exercised in India for the last 70 years”.

Where are the squares filled with Londoners or New Yorkers for the Christian refugees discriminated by the West? In the parts of Syria occupied by Islamists, Christians just spent a “special Christmas” — without chime bells or lights and with many of their churches turned into stables.

The Khabour, the Syrian region where Assyrian Christians lived, is now called “dead valley”. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, recently wrote:

“War in Syria has reignited. Once again refugees fill its roads in need of our compassion. Yet those from the ‘wrong faith’ won’t find it from the British Government. The UK’s resettlement of 16,000 refugees from the earlier conflict saw hardly any from the most brutalised minorities reach safety in our land. Of the refugees who came here in 2015 under the Vulnerable Persons Scheme, only 1.6 per cent were Christians. That’s despite this group being 10 per cent of the Syrian population”.

Muslims fill Western squares for their own; but for our persecuted Christian brothers, these squares remain vacant. (Click to Source)

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


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Marketing Psychiatric Drugs to Jailers and Judges

Drug companies are courting jails and judges through sophisticated marketing efforts.

 
On a rainy Monday morning in April, more than a hundred sheriffs, doctors, nurses, and jail guards from around the country sat in a ballroom on the outskirts of Nashville, sipping on coffees and listening to Daniel Potenza, a psychiatrist from New Hampshire, describe one of their most vexing problems: treating schizophrenia.

The conference, on medical care inside America’s jails and prisons, had been put on by an organization that sets standards for treatment in correctional facilities. Potenza paced the stage, talking animatedly about a national mental-health epidemic that had burdened jails and prisons. He flipped to a presentation slide showing that nearly half of all inmates diagnosed with schizophrenia were “non-adherent,” meaning that they weren’t taking their daily medications as prescribed.

Then, Potenza suggested a solution: a single shot of long-acting antipsychotic medicine, whose effects last for as long as three months, administered to patients while they’re still incarcerated. To show how this might help, Potenza presented a hypothetical scenario in which an inmate with schizophrenia becomes eligible for release but is denied parole because a medical provider describes the person as non-adherent. Parole-board members might be willing to reconsider if they could ensure that the person would receive his or her medications as prescribed ahead of release. In some cases, a “treatment resistant” patient who is simply forgetful might agree to the shot. However, in some cases, a judge might order a shot to be administered without the patient’s permission.

Potenza didn’t recommend a specific drug, and he was presenting at the conference at his employer’s expense, having been invited by its organizers.  But if you looked inside the conference program, you would learn that the keynote address on schizophrenia had been underwritten by Alkermes, an Irish company that manufactures one of the long-acting medicines, Aristada. If you walked through the exhibit hall, you would see Alkermes banners hanging from the rafters, along with a booth of salespeople expounding on the benefits of the antipsychotic drug. An Aristada flyer they passed out featured two buildings—a guard tower surrounded by a razor-wire fence, and a community health center—with the slogan “Transition of care takes time.”

For most of the twentieth century, pharmaceutical companies expressed little interest in inmates. People in need of mental-health treatment often received it at state-run psychiatric hospitals. But in the 1950s and ’60s, states began shuttering many of America’s psychiatric hospitals, pushing patients toward treatment in their communities. Then, in the 1980s and ’90s, lawmakers passed “tough on crime” policies that dramatically expanded the nation’s corrections population. Taken together, those developments had the unintended consequence of turning jails and prisons into warehouses for the mentally ill. By 2005, more than a million adults behind bars had some form of mental illness, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The dramatic shift in American mental-health care presented new opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. Correctional officials are required by law to provide adequate health care, including prescription drugs, to inmates. They also have an imperative to try to make sure people have enough medication when they are released to tide them over until they can seek care on their own. Federal researchers have found that releasing inmates with a supply of medication, and connecting them to community-based treatment, has lowered the odds of recidivism. But by the turn of the millennium, psychiatric-drug prices were rising. As early as the 2000s, to help mitigate costs, local officials in some states, including Washington and Ohio, sought free samples of antipsychotic medications from pharmaceutical companies.

Since then, the relationship between drug companies and the criminal-justice system seems to have intensified: free samples to detention facilities; comped lunches during which jail and prison doctors learn about medications; and payments to physicians to tout certain medications at conferences for criminal-justice professionals, including those without health-care licenses such as sheriffs and drug-court judges. At recent conferences about correctional health care, Merck, Gilead, AbbVie, and other big pharmaceutical companies have staged “product theaters” or “education luncheons” that show how their products could help treat inmates. The criminal-justice system isn’t just a lucrative market because of current inmates; it also introduces incarcerated people to medication that they might continue using after they’re released. (The full cash price of Aristada is about $1,300 for a four-week shot. The drug is covered by Medicaid and Medicare but can still require hefty copays.)

Dr. Joseph Penn, the director of mental-health services for the Correctional Managed Care division of the University of Texas Medical Branch, which oversees treatment in many of the state’s jails and prisons, says drug companies have awakened to the potential market behind bars. “No other country incarcerates as many people as we do, and they realized, ‘Hey, that’s a whole market we haven’t tapped,’” Penn said.

Long-acting schizophrenia drugs, in particular, can be an effective medication for inmates who might otherwise resist treatment, potentially leading to a safer and more predictable environment for them and for the correctional officers on shift. Potenza, the doctor who presented at the Tennessee conference, told me that meetings with drug companies allow doctors like him “to understand the benefits, despite the amplification”—of a particular drug’s merits—“from the company reps.” And free samples of these drugs can make them more accessible.

But despite having benefits for detention facilities and prisoners—free drugs, more information about new treatments—these marketing efforts have raised worries among criminal-justice advocates that drug companies could influence both the prescribing habits of correctional doctors and the choices of non-health-care professionals such as sheriffs and drug-court judges. A recent ProPublica analysis found that doctors who accepted money from pharmaceutical companies for top brand-name drugs were more likely to prescribe those companies’ medicines than doctors who did not. And Dominic Sisti, a medical-ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, worries that nonmedical professionals might not be able to analyze drug companies’ marketing messages the way doctors can. “It’s a sales pitch,” Sisti said.

Potenza said that audiences should “apply a keen eye as to anything that is biased.” Dr. Brent Gibson, the chief health officer for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, which organized the conference at which Potenza presented, said in an email that Alkermes and other sponsoring companies do not have input into presentations like Potenza’s. “We do reserve the right to not accept financial support from a corporate entity that is in conflict with our mission, but we do not feel that is the case with pharmaceutical companies that offer medications that can be useful in the correctional setting,” he wrote.

While drug companies have long marketed to people in a position to help patients make decisions, critics say their efforts in the criminal-justice sphere are particularly troubling because the patients involved, being incarcerated, may not feel that they have as much of a say in their own health-care decisions.

John Snook, the executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a group that calls for better mental-health treatment, said, “If you’re a jailer, and someone says, ‘We’re going to provide you with a solution that gets regular levels of therapeutic medicine to a population that’s difficult for you to control’”—in the form of samples of psychiatric drugs—“that’s going to be extremely attractive.”

But David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, expressed concern about whether this kind of marketing, aimed at jailers and judges rather than incarcerated people themselves, further diminishes the agency of prisoners, who are disempowered in nearly every facet of life behind bars. Even in cases where incarcerated patients elect to take a psychiatric drug, he said, it may be a choice made under duress, knowing that they may be medicated against their will if they refuse. “If you know you can be forcibly medicated, can you really make a free and noncoercive choice about medication?” he said.

Geoff Mogilner, a spokesman for Alkermes, said, “We expect healthcare professionals to utilize their independent clinical judgment to continually assess, with their patient’s input, how a medication is working and to recommend the medication that works best.”

Alkermes, which manufactures drugs for conditions that are disproportionately found behind bars—such as schizophrenia and alcohol and opioid addiction—is among several companies that have embraced the criminal-justice system as a source of customers. Starting in the early 2010s, Alkermes promoted Vivitrol, a treatment for opioid-use disorder, to correctional facilities. The treatment, generically known as naltrexone, had previously been used for alcohol-use disorder, but the drug floundered. When Alkermes recast it as a solution to the opioid epidemic, the company directly lobbied jailers and judges on the shot’s merits, selling the promise of the drug despite scant evidence of its effectiveness compared to competing treatments like buprenorphine, one of the active ingredients in the brand-name drug Suboxone. In closed-door meetings, Alkermes disparaged Suboxone as a “black market” drug that was illegally abused inside correctional facilities, according to a report from The New York Times. The company’s marketing practices received blowback. (Alkermes has pointed to studies it says offer further evidence for Vivitrol’s effectiveness. In some cases, the company has pushed back against criticisms. Earlier this month, in response to a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration, the company responded that it was taking steps to be “fully compliant” with federal regulations.) Alkermes accomplished its goal: People received Vivitrol while behind bars, and kept using it once they were released. Today Vivitrol is widely available in treatment facilities across the country, in part thanks to this early push.

Drugmakers introduced long-acting schizophrenia shots more than 50 years ago as a way to infuse consistency into psychosis treatment. But some psychiatrists and mental-health advocates were skeptical because of concerns about extended exposure to side effects such as sleepiness and low blood pressure, and because the shots seemed like “an attempt by psychiatrists to impose their will on patients,” according to a paper by Ahsan Khan, a psychiatrist at Saint Louis University, and colleagues.

As long-acting antipsychotic drugs improved, along with their public image, drug companies thought they could reinvigorate the market. In July 2009, the Food and Drug Administration approved Invega Sustenna, a long-acting, injectable form of an earlier antipsychotic pill made by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen brand. Abilify Maintena, from a Japanese company called Otsuka Pharmaceutical, followed four years later. Then came Aristada, green-lit in 2015.

Within the multibillion-dollar schizophrenia-drug market, the makers of all three drugs are seeking to cast long-acting injections as the future of schizophrenia treatment. A 2015 study by the University of California, Los Angeles, found that patients who were given such injections were more likely to adhere to treatment and see reduced symptoms over a 12-month period, compared to those taking the same medication orally. But there’s also a chance that side effects will last longer than with the pill form, and that’s one of the key reasons some psychiatrists still start with the pill.

Recognizing the importance of detention facilities in the mental-health market—approximately 15 percent of state prisoners experience serious mental illness, more than three times the rate found in the total U.S. adult population—drugmakers are, to varying degrees, marketing the long-acting drugs to criminal-justice audiences.

Janssen, whose schizophrenia drug leads the market, offers free samples and financially supports advocacy groups aimed at keeping individuals with mental illnesses out of jails. Last year, the company won approval from the FDA to market Invega Sustenna as a treatment that can keep schizophrenic patients out of jail. Before then, Janssen could market the drug’s ability to treat schizophrenia but not make further claims about how it might help incarcerated populations.

Once it got the additional approval, Janssen rolled out video testimonials of formerly incarcerated individuals receiving injections, including a 31-year-old woman identified only as “Tanara” who was incarcerated after a fight with a neighbor. Tanara explained that the injection allowed her to not worry about missing daily pills for schizophrenia and helped her get a steady job as a peer-support specialist after she was released.

Kaitlin Meiser, a Janssen spokeswoman, said free samples allow doctors to “familiarize themselves with the medicine and for patients to try the medicine and determine if it is the right fit for them.” But she noted that the company does not have any “concerted” efforts to specifically educate correctional doctors through the use of paid speakers or free meals.

Otsuka’s criminal-justice efforts appear more limited. Public records show that psychiatrists who have worked in corrections have received payments or perks from Otsuka, but Robert Murphy, a spokesman, said the company’s marketing does not specifically target the criminal-justice system. It has offered free samples of Abilify Maintena to just one correctional system, in Maricopa County, Arizona—and that was on request. He also said that Otsuka has not made “any payments for meals or speaking fees at any meetings or conferences where the audience was doctors or individuals who work with jails, prisons, or courts.”

Aristada, a relative newcomer in the antipsychotic-injection sector, trails behind Invega Sustenna and Abilify Maintena. As Alkermes seeks to catch up, it has provided the treatment in 40 correctional facilities in 18 states, offering free samples to many of them. And it has paid doctors to speak at criminal-justice conferences about its potential, as well as designing advertisements that depict people reentering society thanks to the shot. Two doctors told me Alkermes paid them to participate in focus-group panels where they were asked by company representatives about how to market the shot to criminal-justice officials.

Mogilner, the Alkermes spokesman, did not answer specific questions about the company’s marketing and sales tactics but noted that they are, to a large degree, no different from other companies’ efforts. He wrote in an email that Aristada can offer people leaving prison or jail “consistent and sustained” treatment during “the often-challenging transition back to the community.”

Corrections officials don’t have to exclusively prescribe Aristada in exchange for free samples, Mogilner added, or continue prescribing the shot after the samples run out. “We work to educate healthcare professionals and other stakeholders with whom they work about the treatment of schizophrenia in diverse settings of care, including criminal justice healthcare settings, community mental health centers, and hospitals,” he wrote. “No one medicine is right for every patient.”

Several health-care officials and practitioners told me that free samples of long-acting antipsychotic shots have helped their patients in the criminal-justice system access helpful drugs that would otherwise be too expensive for them to offer. “Funding is always an issue,” Rachel Waddell, a nurse practitioner who treats inmates in a 662-bed jail in Rapid City, South Dakota, told me. The jail has provided samples of Aristada to 10 inmates but hasn’t accepted payments from drug companies, or perks such as free lunches. “With Alkermes, we don’t have to jump through hoops.”

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, have not taken perks or payments from drug companies, but they have accepted free samples of long-acting shots from Janssen, Otsuka, and Alkermes. Grant Phillips, the medical director of Maricopa County’s correctional-health services, said that nearly 120 inmates are on long-acting shots and that they work well. More than half of those are ordered by judges, he said, but judges leave it up to doctors to decide which product is best for their patients. The medication consumes a fifth of the total pharmacy budget for a jail population of about 7,500.

While some jail officials see mostly an upside in drug companies’ marketing efforts, others say it’s more complicated. Jeff Gromer, the former warden of the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said he hasn’t accepted perks or consulting payments, but he has given samples of Aristada to 16 patients since 2018; their symptoms stabilized while on the drug. “When you put someone with anxiety and paranoia in [a jail] environment, it gets hard for them to cope,” Gromer said. “When they can’t cope, there’s behavioral problems such as self-harm or aggression toward inmates or staff, or hiding in their cell.” Still, he’s wary of Alkermes’s efforts to reach patients by marketing to criminal-justice officials overseeing them. “Alkermes’s hope is that the prescription is continued once they’re out of custody, and they’re going to get paid for that,” he said. (Alkermes didn’t comment on Gromer’s characterization.)

Penn, the doctor working with Texas prisons, said his system does not accept samples from drug companies at all and restricts the perks or payments doctors receive. While patients in Texas prisons are sometimes prescribed long-acting antipsychotic drugs—typically as a last resort—Penn expressed concern, noting that “there’s not much literature” on them yet. Though more company-funded studies are emerging, he hasn’t seen enough “good head-to-head studies of the medications,” he said.

Alkermes and other drug companies have marketed not only to jailers but to judges as well. Earlier this year, at a conference for drug- and mental-health-court professionals in Maryland, Alkermes sponsored a closed-door promotional session about using long-acting shots in a court setting. Featured at the session was Richard Jackson, a former psychiatrist at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Ernie Glenn, a magistrate in Bexar County, Texas, who had helped defendants in his court get access to long-acting antipsychotic shots. While Glenn had received no payments from Alkermes, the company had paid Jackson more than $250,000 between 2015 and 2018 for speeches, travel and lodging, and meals, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s open payments database. (Jackson also received $252,608 in payments from Otsuka from 2015 to 2018, and said he has continued receiving payments from drug companies in 2019; it wasn’t immediately clear whether Alkermes was one of them.) The conference program, as in the conference in Nashville, directed people to learn about Aristada at Alkermes’s exhibit booth. “It wouldn’t matter to me if the info was sponsored by one company or all the companies, so long as the info about the medication gets out to the public,” Glenn later told me.

“A lot of people in corrections … they’re not even aware,” Jackson said of long-acting injections. “If you’re not getting educated, you’re not using them, there’s no way it’ll ever be afforded to those prisoners.”

Judge Robin Faber, who presides over a Miami-Dade County court division that aims to divert inmates into mental-health treatment, has not been the target of marketing by Alkermes or any other pharmaceutical firm but said he sees the potential of long-acting drugs in his sixth-floor courtroom. One sweltering afternoon in early September, a young man named Chris Sellers took off his orange cap and slouched into the back of Faber’s courtroom. (Sellers’s name has been changed; Faber, Sellers’s lawyer, and Sellers allowed The Atlantic to sit in the courtroom, which isn’t open to the public, on the condition that his real name not be used.) Faber was reviewing Sellers’s medical records.

“You look good,” Faber said. The first time Faber had met Sellers, several months earlier, Sellers had recently been arrested for stealing a $20 T-shirt. Having looked at his records, along with his initial health assessment from a doctor, Faber felt Sellers’s nonviolent offenses were linked to untreated mental illness, and decided to require treatment instead of incarceration. At the time, to ensure that Sellers received his medication, Faber ordered an involuntary shot for his schizophrenia. Faber believed that Sellers would reoffend without it—and hoped that it would break his cycle of incarceration. As Faber continued reviewing the records, he noticed that Sellers had since received another long-acting shot. “That’s probably helping a lot,” Faber said, agreeing to keep Sellers on the treatment regimen instead of sending him to the Dade County Jail.

After Sellers’s hearing, Faber told me he defers to doctors regarding which medications patients should get. Ernesto Grenier, a psychiatrist at Jackson Health, the medical provider for three of Miami-Dade County’s jails, is often the one choosing those drugs.

When I spoke with Grenier, he told me that Jackson Health prohibits free samples from pharmaceutical companies. But, on occasion, Grenier has listened to pitches from Otsuka, Janssen, and Alkermes. From 2016 to 2018, he accepted food or drinks from the three companies 22 times, for a total of $949.92. He said he does not typically prescribe Aristada—which he considers less proven than some other drugs because it is newer—and dismissed the notion that free lunches or drinks from any drugmaker might have influenced his care. “They all say theirs is the best,” Grenier said. “We choose medication based on the patient.” (Click to Source)


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Human workers forced to work in highly radioactive area to topple dangerous Fukushima exhaust stack

Sunday, December 29, 2019 by: Tracey Watson

(Natural News) Back in March of 2011, the province of Fukushima, Japan, was struck by a series of devastating events that culminated in one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. The area was hit first by a massive earthquake, and then by a 15-metre (50-foot) tsunami. That massive tsunami, in turn, disabled the power supply and cooling functions at the Daiichi nuclear power plant, which finally triggered a nuclear accident on the 11th of March that was rated a 7 on the INES scale. Four nuclear reactors were destroyed, and clean-up work has been ongoing ever since.

Experts estimate that the task of decommissioning the plant and cleaning up the site will take upwards of four decades and cost billions of yen to complete.

In August of this year, news agencies reported that work had commenced at the plant to dismantle a highly contaminated, unstable exhaust stack. Before the disaster, the 110m (360 foot) high exhaust stack was used for the No. 1 and 2 reactors, and dismantling it is seen as a crucial part of the decommissioning work.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), responsible for getting the cleanup work done, decided that the dismantling work would have to be done via crane and remote control because of the incredibly high levels of radiation surrounding the stack. Even at the base of the stack radiation levels have been deemed to be too high for humans to work in.

Then, on December 3, Japanese newspapers began reporting that people had nonetheless been sent up to the top of the exhaust stack to cut the cylinder body with power tools, after the cutting device used to cut the cylinder via remote control had become unstable and emergency action had to be taken. (Related: Fukushima — Storage tanks are full, radioactive waste to be dumped straight into the ocean.)

Workers exposed to extremely high levels of radiation

As reported by Strange Sounds, after the robotic remote-controlled equipment failed, humans had to be sent in to assist with cutting the cylinder body:

Some weird stuff is happening at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant right now. While Japan has decided to drop radioactive water in the ocean, Tepco sent humans to repair where robots failed. …

The workers at the top of 110-m high Fukushima Dai-ichi vent stack were exposed to an estimated 810 ?Sv, making this action an emergency response.

This, despite the fact that officials had assured workers and the public that radiation levels would not exceed 300 ?Sv. (Related: Is Fukushima radiation affecting the West Coast? Consider these signs.)

According to Japanese sources, work initially commenced late in the afternoon of the 3rd, when three workers were lifted by crane to the cutting device located at the top of the cylinder. The workers were busy for around three hours, all the while wearing protective masks to cover their faces. Work had to be suspended in the evening over concerns about strong winds that had come up.

The following morning, another three workers climbed up to the cutting device where they refueled the generator. Within 4.5 hours, exposure levels had increased to 0.47 mSv.

TEPCO plans to cut the cylinder body of the exhaust pipe into sections of between 2 and 4 meters at a time, and estimates that its size will have halved by March 2020.

Since TEPCO officials were initially adamant that humans should not be involved in this work at all because of the dangerously high radiation levels involved, it can only be hoped that the robotic equipment will not fail again before the project is completed. Stay abreast of the latest developments at Fukushima.news.  (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

StrangeSounds.org

Genpatsu.Tokyo-NP.co.jp

Asahi.com

NSEnergyBusiness.com


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Big Pharma’s addictive opioids are causing the ruination of society

Thursday, December 26, 2019 by: Isabelle Z.

(Natural News) Opioid addicts aren’t the only ones suffering from the drug. The crisis is now ruining society in ways that we are only beginning to grasp, and it’s all thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies who care more about profits than people.

For example, opioid addicts desperate for their next fix are contributing to a spike in retail theft. Case in point: Home Depot executives are blaming the opioid crisis for the surge in thefts hitting their stores across the nation, something they say is going to hurt their operating profit margins.

In a phone call to investors, CEO Craig Menear said he believes the opioid crisis could be behind their financial woes, and he said it’s something that is happening everywhere in retail.

He recounted to investors how thieves were caught trying to steal $16.5 million of goods on one occasion, of which $1.4 million was destined for their stores. Some of their locations have resorted to taking high-value products like power tools off of their sales floors to prevent loss.

Home Depot’s operating profit margins are expected to drop to 14 percent in 2020 on account of the increased thefts, according to Bloomberg. Although it’s not clear how much of this can be attributed to the opioid crisis, it’s clear there is a big problem.

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers lose $51 billion per year on average, and that’s something they expect to rise in the coming years because of the opioid crisis. They say that more than two thirds of retailers have reported a rise in “organized retail crime activity” in the last year.

The crisis is taking a huge toll on the economy

It’s not just Home Depot and other retailers who are taking a hit; the crisis is taking a massive toll on the economy. An analysis by the Society of Actuaries shows that the total economic cost of the nation’s opioid crisis reached $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, which is greater than the GDP of nations like Belgium, Taiwan and Sweden.

Almost a third of the costs, amounting to around $186 billion, were shouldered by local, state and federal governments to deal with the rise in deaths, legal expenses and health care spending related to the crisis, while $445 billion fell on the private sector and individuals.

$205 billion of the estimated financial losses went to the excess health care spending needed for these people’s inpatient and outpatient visits and care for family members. There’s also the impact opioid use has on newborns, who can suffer medical problems and withdrawals when born to parents who abuse the drugs.

Meanwhile, criminal justice costs accounted for $39 billion. This includes expenses like legal fees, correctional facility costs, and police protection.

While health care costs and retail losses are somewhat easy to measure, society is suffering in many other ways, too. People’s lives are being ruined, their livelihoods are being destroyed, and their families are being torn apart thanks to the opioid crisis. Big Pharma is to blame for aggressively marketing these dangerous drugs to people who clearly didn’t need them in the first place, setting them on a downward spiral that is very difficult to break out of.

Rather than show remorse for their actions, some drug company employees have the audacity to joke about the crisis. For example, leaked emails showed two callous executives making light of the deadly crisis, writing things like “Keep ‘em comin’! Flyin’ out of there. It’s like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh wait, people are…” and “Just like Doritos keep eating. We’ll make more.”

According to the CDC, nearly 400,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the years from 1999 to 2017, and many others are living with the effects of the crisis. It’s already impacting countless people who have never even touched the drug, and as long as there’s money to be made, this is a problem that isn’t about to go away. (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

ZeroHedge.com

CBSNews.com

Independent.co.uk


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The Exodus: Christians Fleeing Gaza, Fearing Persecution

by Elizabeth Blade

A 60-year-old Christian from Gaza is now living on the streets of Nazareth but says he prefers to stay there than to go back to Gaza, where he had lived his entire life.

Kamal Tarazi fled the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas, an Islamic group considered a terrorist outfit in Israel, seized control of the enclave, ousting its previous government, officials from Fatah.

“The moment they took control, they started persecuting us, ruining our churches and forcing Christians to convert to Islam”, the 60-year-old Christian recalls.

The Turning Point

It was then that Tarazi decided to organise demonstrations against the movement, uniting Christians and Muslims alike. The calls to act didn’t move the masses, but they did anger Hamas.

“I was jailed several times. Do you know what a Hamas prison is? It is pure torture”, he explains, adding that the Islamic group decided to keep him alive to avoid depicting themselves as persecutors of the local Christian population, something that could potentially anger the international community.

After two months in prison, Tarazi had had enough. Shortly before Christmas, he applied for a permit that would allow him to cross the border into Israel and then travel to Bethlehem – located in the West Bank – to attend a series of religious ceremonies.

Once the permit was given and the border was crossed, Tarazi vowed he would never go back, and he is not alone.

Gaza’s Christian community has been steadily declining over the years. Before Hamas came to power in 2007, Christians made up some 3,500 people in the Strip. Now, however, there are no more than 1,300 and Tarazi says the actual number is even lower.

“I am sure there are no more than 500 Christians left in Gaza and it is just part of the general trend”, he explains.

Over the years, many Gazans decided to flee the Strip, unable to cope with the difficult security and economic situation.

In 2018 alone, some 35,000 Gazans fled the Strip and Tarazi says the number of those who have left since 2007 surpassed 200,000 people.

“For Gaza, with its total population of 1.8 million, this number is significant”, he continues.

The Comeback

Despite promises he would never go back fearing for his life, Tarazi decided to give it a try in 2014, shortly before Israel started its operation Protective Edge aimed at putting an end to the continuous rocket barrage emanating from the Strip and targeting Israel’s southern communities.

“I missed my family and wanted to see how they were doing”, he says. But when he came home, he found an empty place.

“My wife and daughter left the flat where we used to live and moved in with my parents-in-law. As for my house, Hamas turned it into a warehouse, where they kept rockets and various ammunition”, he goes on, adding that he wanted to flee again but the Islamic group wouldn’t let him do so, imprisoning him for several months.

That, however, didn’t silence Tarazi and every time he was out of prison, he gathered crowds sending a clear message to Hamas: “Bidna Naesh” – Arabic for “we want to live”.

Similar protests have been staged by other peace activists but just like in the case of Tarazi, they too were silenced.

Hamas’s Days Numbered?

But Tarazi says the policy to silence those who oppose the Hamas regime cannot continue for too long. “Christians and Muslims live well together in Gaza but both are tired of this organisation that kills and damages everything around them. Their days are numbered”, he warns, adding that the situation in Gaza is explosive.

In Gaza, where 75 percent of the population lives in poverty, the unemployment rate is 52 percent, and the average salary is less than $20 a day, some 68 percent of Palestinians describe their situation as either bad or very bad, according to a recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research.

Leaving for good

“My situation was so bad and I was so desperate to leave that at some stage I tore my clothes off in public and wanted to set myself ablaze”, Tarazi recalls, adding that Hamas prevented him from doing so. To hush him they finally gave him a permit to leave Gaza, five years after his return.

“Initially I went to Bethlehem and from there to a church in Nazareth that gave me shelter for some time, until one day they asked me to pay for the accommodation they provided me with, which of course I couldn’t afford, and that pushed me to the streets of Nazareth, where I currently live”, he continues.

With winter approaching, no money in his pocket, and no Israeli job permit, Tarazi relies on the aid of charity organisations.

But help won’t come as Israel lacks relevant bodies that could take care of Tarazi’s needs.

“Israel has organisations that take care of African refugees and NGOs that help Palestinians with mainly legal advice but none of them will be able to provide him with housing, medication or even food”, explained a representative of Gisha, a non-profit organisation that protects the freedom of movement of Palestinians.

Tarazi, mewanwhile, continues to stroll along the streets of Nazareth, hoping that ordinary citizens will show more empathy.

Sputnik reached out to a number of other NGOs and aid organisations but none was able to help. Hamas hasn’t responded to a request for comment by the time of publication. (Click to Source)


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Japan gov’t proposes Fukushima water release to sea or air

 

Japan’s economy and industry ministry has proposed gradually releasing or allowing to evaporate massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

The proposal made Monday to a body of experts is the first time the ministry has narrowed down the options available to just releasing the water. It is meant to tackle a huge headache for the plant’s operator as storage space runs out, despite fears of a backlash from the public.

Nearly nine years after the 2011 triple meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the radioactive water is still accumulating as the water is needed to keep the cores cooled and minimize leaks from the damaged reactors.

For years, a government panel has been discussing ways to handle the crisis and to reassure fishermen and residents who fear potential health impacts from releasing the radioactive water as well as harm to the region’s image.

In Monday’s draft proposal, the ministry suggests a controlled release of the water into the Pacific, allowing the water to evaporate, or a combination of the two methods.

The ministry said a controlled release into the sea was the best option because it would “stably dilute and disperse” the water from the plant using a method endorsed by the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. It also would facilitate monitoring of radiation levels in the environment.

Releasing the entire amount of water over one year would only increase radiation levels to thousands of times less than the impact humans usually get from the natural environment.

In the proposal, the ministry noted that evaporation has been a tested and proven method following the 1979 core meltdown at Three Mile Island, where it took two years to get rid of 87,000 tons of tritium water.

The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., have been unable to get rid of the more than 1 million tons of radioactive water that has been treated and stored due to opposition from local fishermen and residents fearing further damage to Fukushima’s reputation and recovery. The utility has managed to cut down the volume of water by pumping up groundwater from upstream and installing a costly underground “ice wall” around the reactor buildings to keep the water from running into the area.

TEPCO says it has space to store only up to 1.37 million tons and only until the summer of 2022, raising speculation that the water may be released after the Tokyo Olympics next summer. TEPCO and experts say the tanks get in the way of decommissioning work and that they need to free up the space to build storage for debris removed and other radioactive materials. The tanks also could spill out their contents in a major earthquake, tsunami or flood.

Experts, including those at the International Atomic Energy Agency who have inspected the Fukushima plant, say the controlled release of the water into the ocean is the only realistic option, though it will take decades.

A government panel earlier compiled a report that listed five options, including releasing the water into the sea and evaporation. The three others included underground burial and an injection into offshore deep geological layers.

The panel has also discussed possibly storing the radioactive water in large industrial tanks outside the plant, but the ministry proposal ruled that out, citing risks of leakage in case of corrosion, tsunamis or other disasters and accidents, as well as the technical challenge of transporting the water elsewhere. (Click to Source)

Last Update: Monday, 23 December 2019 KSA 08:17 – GMT 05:17
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