China Mulls Regulating Human Gene, Embryo Related Studies In Personality Legislation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

China mulls regulating human gene, embryo-related studies in personality legislation

Xinhua

China is considering regulating studies related to human genes or embryos in the draft section of personality rights of the civil code, which was submitted to the top legislature for review Saturday.

Those who conduct medical or scientific studies related to human genes or embryos shall abide by laws, administrative rules and relevant regulations, the draft says, adding that people’s health should not be harmed, nor ethical and moral standards violated.

This marks the first time China has made a fundamental regulation concerning such issues in civil legislation.

The clause was added to the draft section of personality rights of the civil code for its second reading at the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which is in its bimonthly session.

VA: Biggest Lies Voc Rehab Tells Disabled Veterans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF DISABLED VETERANS.ORG)

 

Biggest Lies Voc Rehab Tells Disabled Veterans

149

Vocational Rehabilitation

Benjamin KrauseMany veterans fight with VA Vocational Rehabilitation. Sometimes it takes veterans years before we figure out that program administrators are straight up lying to us.

Sometimes they lie to avoid work. Sometimes they lie out of principle (e.g. Voc Rehab does not pay for graduate school.) about what the program can do for any veteran.

Want to know what those lies are before you fall victim? Are you curious to learn if you are already a victim? Want to figure out what do to about it? Good, keep reading.

Now, if you want to cut to the chase, I suggest checking out the Voc Rehab Survival Guide I wrote that helps veterans kick bad counselors in the pants on a daily basis.

But, if you’d like to focus on the lies for now, please continue…

Thousands Denied Voc Rehab

Thousands of disabled veterans apply for Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation every year.

Over the past decade, the number of applicants has almost tripled from 60,000 to 170,000. Meanwhile, the number of counselors has barely increased and the program’s funding likewise has barely increased.

As the number of applicants has skyrocketed, the number of veterans approved for program services has stayed around 30,000. So that does that tell you? Has the number of disabled veterans gone down or remained static?

Heck no! So what does this mean?

Some are successful in getting the benefits they deserve but most are not. In fact, each year the relative number of applicants being denied benefits increases.

In my time researching and writing on the subject, there seems to be a common theme arising: lies.

Many veterans are misled about what Voc Rehab can do for them even though policies exist that contradict what counselor say. And when veterans ask about the policies or regulations, they are often greeted with blank stares.

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Why Do Lies Continue?

This leads one to conclude that either there are guidelines for excuses to evade benefits grants somewhere that Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors live by.

Or, there is an underlying discussion between offices as to what excuses can be used to keep deserving disabled veterans from their benefits.

Book Of Q

It reminds me of a period of my life when I spent a great deal of my recreational time researching the Bible. Yes, I thumped my fair share of Bibles.

Living in England at the time, I used the ESV Bible, the Cambridge Companion to the Bible, the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, and a copy of The Living Buddha, Living Christ that my grandmother sent me. That is where my journey for truth started, well before my (mis)adventures with VA.

Over the decades, scholars have found there to be such commonality between the New Testament Gospels that they came to believe there existed a fifth text referred to as “Q.” This Book of Q is believed by many scholars to be the first written gospel that contained many of the quotes and anecdotes of Jesus’ time on Earth.

A Voc Rehab Book Of Q?

In a similar way, I cannot help but speculate that there is a similar text that creates a common set of lies Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors tell disabled veterans when denying claims. In my searches for it, I seem only to find regulations that support veterans’ claims for benefits — strange.

Some Voc Rehab Background

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) ordered an audit of the VR&E program in 2007 and a subsequent survey sampling of 80,000 veterans. The watchdog wanted to find out why so many disabled veterans never complete the program.

While VR&E boasts a success rate of close to 75 percent to the U.S. Congress, the real number is much lower.

According to the VA OIG, the true success rate is closer to 18 percent. How does that make you feel about the program and its administrators?

Many qualified veterans drop out of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) before developing an Individual Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP). Many more drop out before finishing the program. VR&E has not been including these cases in their reported success rate, but they have become great at jiggering the number to look good when it counts.

In Corporate America, this is called “cooking the books,” for which people have gone to jail and been sued.

Lucky for VR&E, the officials of this ENRON of the federal government are largely blanketed by sovereign immunity. The government has to agree to let you sue the government. Convenient.

So that should give you some of the backstory to fill in the gaps and provide context. The reality is the program is dramatically understaffed and underfunded.

Top 5 Voc Rehab Lies

The following is a list of a few of most common fish stories given by Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to deny veterans access to Chapter 31 benefits:

1. Veterans with high disability ratings usually fail to complete their training.

2. You cannot use Vocational Rehabilitation if you are Individually Unemployable (IU).

3. Veterans with families have a harder time completing their programs.

4. Vocational Rehabilitation will not pay for graduate school.

5. If you have a job, you do not qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation.

Lies – all lies. In a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Training Module Study Plan you can get plenty of valuable information about the program. Combined with the audit and survey linked above, the majority of truths to the lies can be found. So let’s raise the curtain a bit to reveal the great Oz.

Lie #1 – Veterans With High Disability Ratings Usually Fail To Complete Their Training.

Truth – The survey states that veterans with a higher disability rating also have a higher likelihood of successfully completing their program. This includes veterans with VR&E ratings of “serious employment handicap.”

Lie #2 – You Cannot Use Vocational Rehabilitation If You Are Individually Unemployable (IU).

Truth – According to the training module, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating can and do use VR&E for retraining purposes to obtain jobs, if possible. Additionally, veterans with an IU are also allowed to use the program. Further, finishing the training program does not automatically result in a reduction of IU. Supposedly, it cannot be reduced for a year following employment.

Lie #3 – Disabled Veterans With Families Have A Harder Time Completing Their Programs.

Truth – There is no significant effect on program success rates when comparing veterans with families to those without families. This includes a comparison between veterans relating to spouses and veterans with children.

Lie # 4 – Vocational Rehabilitation Will Not Pay For Graduate School.

Truth – I used VR&E for my undergrad and now have an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan stating I can attend law school in the program. ‘Nuff said. VR&E will send people to graduate school, to include law school, medical school, dental school, and airline pilot training. It can also pay for starting small businesses and allocating more than $100,000 for the start-up, according to participating SBA Veteran Business Counselors working with the program.

Lie #5 – If You Have A Job, You Do Not Qualify For Vocational Rehabilitation.

Truth – Over 42 percent of all disabled veterans using VR&E services are employed at the time of admittance. Thirty-five percent hold jobs throughout the period of retraining. Of those, over half of them felt their current job was in line with their military and/or civilian training. So, 28,000 veterans who used VR&E for retraining were employed at the time they entered the program.

That’s the truth about the VA, according to the VA. The information is out there, but it’s not presented in a way that is readily accessible. Plus, it’s hard to pick your head up to do the research when your horns are locked with your Voc Rehab Counselor.

To the quality counselors out there, thank you for your diligent efforts to support disabled veterans in their quest for purpose and success outside of the green uniform. And to those who dish out fish stories, I for one have had it up to my eyeballs with you. There will be a day of reckoning, in this life or the next.

Accountability will come for all the lives that have been hurt by the renegade behavior of some Voc Rehab Counselors. Many media outlets have begun to investigate the actions of the VA, including the actions of Voc Rehab officials. To you who do harm to vets, it’s time to be on the right side of this story.

Email questions to: [email protected]

Good News…

Tens of thousands of veterans have benefited from this article and its updates over the years. To help really drive the lesson home, I created a free eBook you can download that not only covers the topics here but goes more in-depth into the lessons for added support. Get your copy delivered right into your inbox.

Again, if you want to support what we do and want to win your benefits, I suggest you check out our Voc Rehab Survival Guide.

a human lie detector

at Voc Rehab?

Israeli Breakthrough And The Ethics Of A 3D-Printed Heart

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

After Israeli breakthrough: The ethics of a 3D-printed heart

Within a decade, manufactured hearts could obviate the need for organ donations; ethicists highlight potential pitfalls along the way

Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of a heart with human tissue at the University of Tel Aviv on April 15, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of a heart with human tissue at the University of Tel Aviv on April 15, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP)

At a Tel Aviv fruit and vegetable store on Monday night, shoppers suddenly stopped what they were doing to stare at a television screen overhead. The television news anchor was announcing a medical breakthrough: a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University had 3D-printed a heart using a patient’s own cells and biological material.

“The future is here,” one shopper remarked to another.

Israelis are swelling with pride at the scientific breakthrough revealed at a press conference on April 15 and in a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Science. ‏Until now, scientists have been able to 3D print simple tissues without blood vessels, but the Israeli team, led by Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, has printed an entire heart including cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers.

The grape-size heart shown at Tel Aviv University does not work yet. It needs to be matured in a bioreactor, where electrical and mechanical signals will coax the cells into contracting synchronously, a process that will take about a month. Researchers also need to figure out how to generate more and bigger cells so that they eventually can 3D print a human-size heart, which contains billions of cells. They also have yet to transplant a heart into animals which will eventually be followed by clinical trials on humans.

This breakthrough, Dvir estimated, is likely to lead 3D-printed human hearts in hospitals within a decade.

But not everybody is gung-ho about the heart breakthrough, citing ethical implications — like whether it will widen the gap between rich and poor, and whether superhuman hearts or other mutations can also be manufactured.

Robby Berman, director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society, told The Times of Israel he had mixed feelings about the Tel Aviv University announcement, mostly because people might think they no longer need to donate organs.

“The artificial heart is good in that it shows we are progressing, that one day we will be creating organs to save lives,” said Berman.

Robby Berman (Courtesy)

But Berman pointed out that only 16 percent of Israelis have signed organ donor cards (compared to 50% in the United States) and that while the Tel Aviv University breakthrough may one day ameliorate Israel’s organ shortage, that day is a long way off.

“ I hope this doesn’t send the untrue message that we are just a few years away from artificial organs, because we are not. People still need to have the conversation with their families and let everyone know — family and friends — that they want to be an organ donor.”

Dr. Rabbi Ira Bedzow, director of the Biomedical Ethics and Humanities Program at New York Medical College, told The Times of Israel that whenever there is a new medical discovery, both those who view its potential as utopian and those who fear its unintended consequences are failing to grasp the complexity of the situation.

“My assumption is that if this works it is going to be life-saving,” Bedzow said. “What it’s going to end up doing is addressing the issue of organ shortages, and it’ll also be easier for the patients because the patients won’t have to worry about organ rejection, or Graft Versus Host disease, or taking immunosuppressants, because the cells the organ is made of are going to be from their own body.”

However, Bedzow said there are potential pitfalls involved with categorizing the organs as body parts or medical devices. If they are organs, they can’t be bought and sold and no one owns them, according to the law in most countries. This would probably keep the cost of such organs low and prevent other abuses.

This photo taken on April 15, 2019 at the University of Tel Aviv shows a 3D print of a heart with human tissue. (Jack Guez/AFP)

But if they are categorized as medical devices, they can be patented and the owner of the organs could conceivably charge a lot of money for his product, rendering it unaffordable to many unless covered by insurance.

Another related question is whether a patient will sell the rights to her genetic material to the company printing the heart. Would the company then be able to create more hearts using her cells or use her cells for other purposes? In the United States, for instance, a person’s genetic material is owned by them and a research or medical facility must get their consent if they want to use it in any way, he said.

Bedzow said the problem of organs being considered medical devices is doubly problematic because the medical devices industry itself has been a subject of controversy.

A November 2018 series of exposes by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists revealed how “health authorities across the globe have failed to protect millions of patients from poorly tested implants that can puncture organs, deliver errant shocks to the heart, rot bones and poison blood, spew overdoses of opioids and cause other needless harm.”

Ira Bedzow (Courtesy)

In March, the Department of Homeland Security warned that certain heart implants were hackable from a short distance.

“There is a rush to innovation that sometimes has had very bad consequences for patients,” said Bedzow. “It’s one of the problems that we have of looking at helping patients as a public good but then privatizing a lot of these markets where players seek financial gain.”

Bedzow said that people creating medical devices need to “recognize their mission as much as their margin” and that medicine should be a public good and not merely a good or service bought and sold in a market like potato chips and clothing.

Superhuman hearts

As for whether customizable 3D-printed organs could lead to a community of large-hearted superhumans, Bedzow said there was little reason to worry.

If a doctor put a “superheart” into someone’s body, it wouldn’t make a huge difference to their overall health and longevity because it has to work within the rest of the person’s cardiopulmonary systems.

If a doctor were to hypothetically replace all of a person’s major organs with 3D-printed ones it might add another 20 years to their life, Bedzow said. “I’d be more worried about genetic engineering than I would about organ printing. Genetic engineering is going to potentially change the entire person’s genetic code and that of their descendants as well,” he said.

He added that fears of medical innovations leading to unnatural physical enhancements of a new class of humans with superior health and abilities were nothing new.

This photo taken on April 15, 2019, at the University of Tel Aviv shows a 3D print of heart with human tissue. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

“The choices made by biotechnologists setting out to create a 3D-printed heart could possibly lead to research and technology that could serve a eugenic function. but that’s always been the case. Think about when glasses were invented. What if people said, ‘oh my gosh now we’re going to have a class of people who can see better.”

“It’s not the medical technology itself that has that moral risk,” he said. “It’s the people who have that moral risk.”

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Japanese Professor May Face 10 Prison For Giving His Students Ecstasy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Breaking Bad: Japan professor may face 10 years jail for making students produce ecstasy

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

WORLD Updated: Apr 17, 2019 10:51 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Tokyo
Japan,professor,jail
A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”. (Representative Image)(AP)

A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”.

Authorities suspect the 61-year-old pharmacology professor from Matsuyama University in western Japan got his pupils to make MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy — in 2013 and another so-called “designer drug” 5F-QUPIC last year.

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

The ecstasy allegedly produced has not been found and has “probably been discarded,” added this official, who asked to remain anonymous.

If charged and convicted, he could face 10 years behind bars.

Japanese law states that a researcher needs a licence issued by regional authorities to manufacture narcotics for academic purposes.

The synthetic drug MDMA acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen and is the main ingredient in party drug ecstasy, giving users a heightened sense of energy, empathy and pleasure.

It has recently been used in research trials exploring its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5F-QUPIC, also known as 5F-PB-22, is a cannabis-like drug banned in Japan in 2014 after it was suspected of causing traffic accidents.

It is unclear if there were any other similarities between the case of the Matsuyama University professor and that of Walter White, the fictitious hero of “Breaking Bad”.

White, played by Bryan Cranston, was a former chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who starts manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to pay for his treatment and provide for his family — sometimes with the help of a former pupil.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 10:50 IST

Has the Affordable Care Act given 200,000-plus West Virginians health coverage?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘POLITIFACT’) 

 

Has the Affordable Care Act given 200,000-plus West Virginians health coverage?

Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., in 2017. (AP/Michael Virtanen)

During the 2018 midterm elections, many Democrats across the country argued that they would be better positioned than their Republican rivals to protect Americans’ health insurance provided under the Affordable Care Act.

The 2018 election cycle may be over now, but the West Virginia Democratic Party continues to make that argument.

In fact, the issue gained new relevance in March 2019 when the Trump administration said it has decided to seek the law’s full repeal in an ongoing court case. (This is the same lawsuit that West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey signed on to, as we’ve noted.)

In an April 1 tweet, the state party said that President Donald Trump “is threatening to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act that provided over 200,000 West Virginians with healthcare coverage. Our seniors depend on it for affordable prescriptions and pre-existing condition coverage.”

WV Democratic Party

@wvdemocrats

Trump is threatening to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act that provided over 200,000 West Virginians with healthcare coverage. Our Seniors depend on it for affordable prescriptions and pre-existing condition coverage.

See WV Democratic Party’s other Tweets

Here, we’ll look at whether the party is correct that “over 200,000 West Virginians with healthcare coverage.” (The West Virginia Democratic Party did not respond to an inquiry for this article.)

The Affordable Care Act provides two primary ways to get coverage — individual policies purchased on online marketplaces and an expansion of Medicaid to a wider group of eligible Americans. We turned to data on both types from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For 2019, the number of West Virginians purchasing health insurance on the marketplace totaled 22,599.

And for fiscal year 2017, West Virginia added 183,100 residents to its Medicaid rolls due to the Affordable Care Act. (Kaiser communications director Craig Palosky said 2017 figures are the most recent available due to state-by-state reporting lags.)

Combined, that works out to 205,699 West Virginia residents securing coverage from the law, making the Democratic tweet accurate.

Palosky added that other West Virginians benefited from the law without specifically securing insurance under the law. For instance, the law required coverage of pre-existing conditions and provided more generous coverage of prescription drugs under Medicare.

Our ruling

The West Virginia Democratic Party said the Affordable Care Act “provided over 200,000 West Virginians with health care coverage.”

The combination of insurance purchases on the marketplace and the increase in Medicaid coverage works out to 205,699, according to the most recent data available. That’s in line with what the tweet said, so we rate it True.

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The Affordable Care Act “provided over 200,000 West Virginians with health care coverage.”

Israel: South Korea firm to invest $10m in anti-cancer drug

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

South Korea firm to invest $10m in Weizmann scientists’ anti-cancer drug

An additional $2m will be invested by another Korean concern in a company that aims to make the use of ultrasounds easier, also set up by Weizmann’s Yeda technology transfer arm

Yeda CEO Gil Granot-Mayer (left to right) BioLeaders CEO, Dr. Young-Chul Park and Weizmann Institute Vice President for Technology Transfer Prof. Mordechai Sheves (Weizmann Institute of Technology)

Yeda CEO Gil Granot-Mayer (left to right) BioLeaders CEO, Dr. Young-Chul Park and Weizmann Institute Vice President for Technology Transfer Prof. Mordechai Sheves (Weizmann Institute of Technology)

An anti-cancer therapy that has been developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Technology will get a $10 million investment from a South Korean biopharmaceutical company that is traded on the Korea Stock Exchange. This is the Korean firm’s first investment in an Israeli venture, the Weizmann Institute said in a statement.

The institute said that two South Korean concerns have committed to investing a total of $12 million in two spin off companies set up by Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The Korean group BioLeaders Corporation, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical firm, has signed a Letter of Intent with Yeda for the incorporation of a jointly owned company that will be set up in the coming months to develop the anti-cancer drug.

The drug will be based on the research of Weizmann Institute professors Varda Rotter and Moshe Oren, both of the Molecular Cell Biology Department.

Rotter and Oren were among the first to discover the function of the p53 protein – called the “guardian of the genome.” This protein is mutated or dysfunctional in over two-thirds of all cancers; such malfunctions can cause the cancer to spread faster. The two researchers recently developed a peptide — a small piece of protein — that can restore proper p53 function. The peptide they developed targets the malformed p53, and enters the cell and binds to the protein.

In mice carrying human tumors that were treated with the peptide, the tumors shrank and, in some cases, disappeared altogether, with no significant side effects, the statement said.

The investment is planned to be completed in the coming months, and the company is expected to establish operations and recruit staff in its headquarters in the Kiryat Weizmann Science Park in Ness Ziona, near the Weizmann Institute of Science, the statement said.

On-Sight CEO Dr. Yoram Eshel, left, and Yozma Group Asia’s Managing Partner, Mr. Wonjae Lee (Weizmann Institute of Technology)

A second sum, of $2 million, will be invested by Yozma Group Asia, a VC fund, in On-Sight Medical Inc., jointly owned by Yeda, New York University (NYU) Medical School and other parties.

On-Sight Medical is developing a program that will allow untrained users to operate ultrasound equipment and interpret the results. Today’s ultrasound machines are compact and economical, but they still require highly trained and experienced technicians. The developers of the new program hope not only to make up for the lack of qualified ultrasound technicians and radiologists, but also to facilitate the use of ultrasound technology in ambulances, general practitioners’ offices and even in-home care, the statement said.

The initiative won first place last year in the Echovation Challenge of the American Society of Echocardiography.

The first application of On-Sight Medical’s technology will be in emergency rooms, where waiting for the technician can waste crucial time, the statement said. Based on a mixture of artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms for geometric recognitions, the program was developed by the team of Prof. Yaron Lipman of the Weizmann Institute’s Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department together with Achi Ludomirsky, MD, a pediatric cardiology expert at NYU School of Medicine, Itay Kezurer, and Dr. Yoram Eshel, the company’s CEO. Yeda also participated in the current round of investment in the company.

The agreements with the two Korean entities were signed this week in ceremony held at the Weizmann Institute attended by the representatives of the two organizations and those of the Weizmann Institute. Yeda and Yozma Group Asia signed a cooperation agreement in 2016.

Yozma Group Asia, stemming from the original Yozma fund founded in Israel in the 1990s by Yigal Erlich, who was at the time the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, was founded in 2014 as a venture capital fund based on the “Israeli model.” The Yozma Group Asia invests in Korean startups as well as works to develop strong ties with Israel’s high-tech industry. Yozma Group Asia is also an investor in BioLeaders.

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In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many and a Dilemma for Reporters

A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

SANA, Yemen — At a restaurant in the Yemeni capital, Sana, a waiter brought bowls of slow-cooked lamb served with mounds of rice. For dessert there was kunafa, the classic Arab dish of golden brown pastry filled with cheese.

An hour later I was back at work, in a hushed hospital ward filled with malnourished children with skeletal faces, hanging between life and death for want of money and a good meal.

If that juxtaposition strikes you as jarring, even distasteful, it felt that way to me, too.

Crisis zones are often places of stark contrast, but in Yemen the gulf is particularly uncomfortable. The problem isn’t a lack of food; it’s that few people can afford to buy what food is available.

Years of blockades, bombs and soaring inflation have crushed the economy. A crushed state means there is no safety net.

As a result, beggars congregate outside supermarkets filled with goods; markets are filled with produce in towns where the hungry eat boiled leaves; and restaurants selling rich food are a few hundred yards from hunger wards filled with desperation, pain and death.

For a reporter, that brings a dilemma. Journalists travel with bundles of hard currency, usually dollars, to pay for hotels, transport and translation. A small fraction of that cash might go a long way for a starving family. Should I pause, put down my notebook and offer to help?

It’s a question some readers asked after we published a recent article on Yemen’s looming famine.

Many were touched by a powerful photograph by Tyler Hicks of Amal Hussain, an emaciated 7-year-old girl whose haunting stare brought the war’s human cost into shocking focus.

And many were devastated to learn that, soon after we left, Amal’s mother brought her back to the shabby refugee camp they call home, where she died a few days later.

Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Some, in their anguish, turned the focus back on us.

Why didn’t we do something to save Amal’s life, they wanted to know. Did we just take the photo, conduct the interview and move on? Couldn’t we have somehow ensured that her family would get help?

“You can take the picture AND provide assistance,” one woman said on Twitter. “One doesn’t rule out the other.”

The questions resonated. Reporters are trained to bear witness; aid workers and doctors have the job of helping people.

Donating money, or other forms of assistance, can be fraught with ethical, moral and practical complications. Is it fair to single out one person or family for help? What if they embellish their story for the next foreigner who comes along, thinking they could get more money?

Plus, we have a job to do.

Doctors show us around, and sometimes we end up acting like them — examining stick-like limbs and flaccid skin with clinical detachment; tabulating figures about weight and age; listening as families recount their tragedies with amazing calm. The prospect of death is discussed. We nod sagely, make a note, move on.

But while we may try to mimic a stone, we are not stones, and every day in Yemen someone told me something that made a lump rise in my throat.

COMMENT OF THE MOMENT

Sandra commented November 30

Sandra
Times Pick

Let’s cut to the chase and get the U.N. and it’s agencies in there. Just do it. The USA should be spear heading the effort. War between armies is one thing. War on starving people is quite another….no grey area! NONE!

SEE MORE

Usually it was a mundane detail, like the lack of a few dollars to take a dying child to the hospital. Yemen, you realize, is a country where people are dying for lack of a taxi fare.

An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image

An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Yemenis have to navigate such terrain, too.

While some are dying, others are getting on with living. One night we returned to our hotel in Hajjah, a town ringed by rocky ridges in a province that has been pummeled by Saudi airstrikes. Lying in bed, I was startled by a loud bang then a burst of light that filled the sky — not a bomb, but fireworks.

Since the start of the war, the rate of marriage in Yemen has gone up. And so, in this town where malnourished infants were perishing at the city hospital, others were dancing and celebrating through the night.

But the surge in weddings, it turned out, was a survival mechanism.

Across the social spectrum, Yemenis are sliding down the poverty ladder. Where once a mother bought a sack of rice to feed her family, now she can afford only a small bag. The hand of a daughter in marriage brings a bride price, and so weddings can be a source of income for stretched families.

Disturbingly, many of the brides are children. According to Unicef, two-thirds of Yemeni girls are married before the age of 18, up from 50 percent before the war.

As we crossed Yemen — from the battle-scarred port of Hudaydah to the Houthi-held mountains — on a bumpy 900-mile journey, we saw scenes of heartbreaking suffering that unfolded against a backdrop of spectacular mountains, and customs that stubbornly endure despite everything.

Every day, town centers bustled with men buying khat, the narcotic leaf beloved by Yemenis. The khat bazaars are a social event. Men, some with guns over their shoulders, gather to trade news, meet friends and prepare for the afternoon chew.

Women in black cloaks flitted between them; in one place, a loud argument erupted into fisticuffs. Even as starvation bites, some are reluctant to cut back on their habit.

In one health clinic, Ibrahim Junaid, a worried father standing over his ailing 5-month-old son, was chewing a lump of khat that left a green stain on his teeth and lips.

Mr. Junaid was 60; his wife, 25, stood silently by his side. The nurses wrapped the boy in a gold foil blanket to keep him warm.

Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Mr. Junaid regretted that his son hadn’t enough to eat, adding that he had a lot of mouths to feed; he had married twice, and fathered 13 children.

The value of practices like chewing khat may be hard to understand in such turbulent times. But for men like Mr. Junaid, it is an integral part of their day. And it is a mark of the resilience of an ancient society, one of the oldest civilizations of the Middle East.

“People say Yemen is in a state of chaos, but it’s not,” said Thierry Durand, an aid worker who has worked in Yemen since the 1980s, and now runs a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Mocha. “There is still structure.”

“You can’t put it in three lines in your paper or describe it in three minutes on TV,” he continued. “This country is structured by family, tribe, traditions — and despite everything, those structures are still there, and they are strong.”

Still, Yemeni society is being ravaged by war. Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, aided by American bombs, have killed thousands of civilians, and displaced many more. But for most Yemenis, war strikes their lives in quieter, more insidious ways.

Bombs blow up bridges or factories, killing jobs, causing the currency to crumble and prices to soar, and forcing families to abstain from meat, then vegetables. Soon, they are dependent on international food aid or, in the worst cases, resort to meals of boiled leaves.

A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Small but vital things, like a cab fare, become unattainable.

As we drove away from the small hospital in Aslam, where Amal Hussain was being treated, we passed a young couple hitching a ride on the side of the road. They were holding a small infant. We stopped and offered them a ride.

They squeezed into the passenger seat — the father, Khalil Hadi, enveloped by the black cloak of his wife, Hanna, who held their fragile 9-month-old son, Wejdan, who had just been released from the malnutrition ward.

Theirs was a typical story. Their home near the Saudi border had been bombed, so they rented a room in a house near Aslam. Mr. Hadi tried to earn money driving a motorbike taxi, and by foraging for wood to sell at the market.

But it wasn’t enough, and when he tried to go home, the Houthi soldiers told him the area was a military zone. Their diet was reduced to bread, tea and halas, the vine that grew locally. His wife was four months pregnant with their second child.

Mr. Hadi wasn’t looking for pity; many people were in similar trouble, he said. “I’d do anything to make some money,” he said. “The situation is so hard.”

At a junction in the road, the couple stepped out, offered thanks and began to walk away. Fumbling in my pocket, I called them back.

I pulled out a wad of Yemeni notes — about $15 worth — and pressed it into his hand. It seemed so futile, in the greater scheme of things. What could it buy them? A few days respite, if even that?

Mr. Hadi accepted the money with a gracious smile. As we drove off I saw the couple amble down a dusty road, toward their shelter, their ailing son held tight.

Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Follow Declan Walsh on Twitter:@declanwalsh

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Contrast in Crushed State Presents Journalists With Ethical Dilemma. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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South Korea Legalizes Medical Marijuana, First Country In Asia To Do So

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS DAILY NEWS)

 

South Korea became the first country in East Asia to legalize medical cannabis, marking a significant milestone in the global industry and a potential turning point in how the drug is perceived in traditionally conservative societies.

The country’s National Assembly voted to approve amending the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs to pave the way for non-hallucinogenic dosages of medical cannabis prescriptions.

Medical marijuana will still be tightly restricted, but the law’s approval by the central government is seen as a breakthrough in a country many believed would be last – not among the first – to approve any use of cannabis, even if it is just low-THC, or CBD, to start.

To receive medical cannabis, patients would be required to apply to the Korea Orphan Drug Center, a government body established to facilitate patient access to rare medicines in the country.

Approval would be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Patients would also need to receive a prescription from a medical practitioner.

South Korea’s cannabis law overcame a major obstacle in July when it won the support of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, which said at the time it would permit Epidiolex, Marinol, Cesamet and Sativex for conditions including epilepsy, symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer-related treatments.

On Nov. 23 the ministry said a series of amended laws passed in a National Assembly session will expand the treatment opportunities for patients with rare diseases.

A number of other countries had been vying to join Israel as the first countries in Asia to allow medical cannabis, including Thailand and Malaysia.

“South Korea legalizing medical cannabis, even if it will be tightly controlled with limited product selection, represents a significant breakthrough for the global cannabis industry,” said Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, a venture capital firm exploring emerging markets in the cannabis space.

“The importance of Korea being the first country in East Asia to allow medical cannabis at a federal level should not be understated. Now it’s a matter of when other Asian countries follow South Korea, not if.”

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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31 Bible Scriptures On Healing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TUKO.CO.KE NEWS SITE)

 

Bible scriptures on healing Author: Julie Kwach UPDATED: A MONTH AGO VIEWS: 1796 Category: Facts and Life Hacks In times of despair, need, happiness, or confusion, Christian look to God’s word for encouragement, reassurance, and guidance. It is no different when people desire emotional or physical healing. One of the most popular Bible phrases that people reference to when sick or going through other struggles is “By His stripes we are healed” found in Isaiah 53:5. In keeping with the theme of healing, we have compiled a list of Bible scriptures on healing. We desire that you will find comfort in the word of God as you seek for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. READ ALSO: Comforting Bible verses The Bible has various accounts where Jesus healed the sick, broken, and wounded. The teaching that is constant in all of the healing stories in the Bible is faith. So, as a Christian, you should live with the assurance that God can see you through any challenge including sicknesses. Below are some Bible scriptures on healing that may be beneficial even as you seek to draw nearer to God. 31 scriptures on healing Bible scriptures on healing can serve as a source of encouragement when you are going through physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. Scriptures on healing sicknesses 1. Exodus 15:26 English Standard Version Saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in His eyes, and give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” The Lord asked the Israelites to diligently listen to what He had commanded them and do what is right by Him. In return, the Lord would look after them and not expose them to diseases like those that Egyptians had suffered. Likewise, as a Christian, it is essential that you keep the Lord’s commandments and teachings at heart as God preserves both your body and soul. When you are sick or wounded the Lord heals you. This verse is found in the Old Testament. 2. James 5: 14-15 King James Version Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if they have committed sins, they shall be forgiven. In the New Testament, James encourages Christians to pray in faith at all times even when sick. In this verse, James affirms the power of believers praying together by asking the sick to go to the elders for prayers. Further, this verse shows that repentance through prayer is effective. 3. Jeremiah 33: 6 King James version Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. God’s promise to His people in the Old Testament is that He would give them health, cure them, and give them peace and truth. This promise came to pass when God sent Jesus Christ who not only healed the sick, but also enabled believers to enjoy peace and grace through the sacrifice on the cross. 4. Jeremiah 30:17 KJV For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. This Old Testament verse talks about God’s promise to Israel to restore health and heal wounds. Similarly, as God’s chosen people, He provides the grace and deliverance from physical and spiritual pain. So, no matter what others call you, the Lord can still restore your health and heal you. 5. Exodus 23:25 King James version And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. As the Israelites were going through the wilderness, God promised to provide food and water and take away sicknesses. Today, God still walks with believers through the ups and downs of life and heals diseases. Remember that you will only reap kingdom benefits if you serve the Lord and follow His commandments. 6. Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. God is the all-knowing for He gives and takes life and heals our wounds and diseases. Through Christ, the great physician, Christians can see the power of God. Apart from curing our disease, He makes our spirit alive through His grace. Without Him, we are dead in spirit, and our life is empty. 7. Matthew 10:1 And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Matthew, the inaugural book in the New Testament teaches about our Messiah who has the power to heal all diseases and cast out spirits. Jesus conferred the same power to His disciples. 8. Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. Like Matthew, the third book of the New Testament gives an account of the teachings and works of Christ. In Luke chapter 10 Jesus tells the seventy-two disciples to go out and preach the gospel and cure the sick for the kingdom of God is near. Today, Christians can also go out find the broken and sick and heal them through prayers. 9. Psalms 103: 2-3 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; The book of Psalms is between the Books of Proverbs and Job. Chapter 103 of Psalms encourages believers to praise the Lord and not to forget all that He has done including forgiving sins and healing all diseases. 10. Mark 5: 34 And He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace and be whole of thy plague. The 5th chapter of the second book of the New Testament teaches you how faith in the Lord can heal your sickness or wounds. 11. Proverbs 3: 5-8 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. These verses teach believers to depend on God and not human understanding or wisdom. While at it, Christians should fear the Lord and acknowledge Him as He is the provider of perfect health 12. Psalms 41:3 The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. This verse shows that even when we are sick, weak, or wounded, God, through His grace and mercy, comforts us. As such, in the midst of challenges (illness), we shall survive for God strengthens us. 13. Matthew 4:23-24 And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and He healed them. Matthew 4 verse 23 provides another account of when Jesus showed He is the great physician by healing those who were physically and spiritually sick. Bible scriptures on healing the heart, brokenness, and spiritual emptiness 14. Matthew 11: 28-29 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 reassures Jesus call to all those who are burdened to find rest in His arms. This scripture applies to all who have been weighed down emotionally by the things of this earth. 15. Psalms 34: 17-20 ESV When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. The primary teaching from Psalms 34:17-20 is that God protects believers who diligently serve Him and follow His commands. God also saves those who have a contrite spirit and are brokenhearted. When you are righteous, no matter what comes your way, God will deliver you. 16. Isaiah 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29 reinforces the teaching that when you are weak, God shows His strength and gives us the power to keep going. 17. Isaiah 57:18-19 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. Even when the people of God wander away, He is merciful enough to forgive and heal their souls if they turn away from sinful ways. Also, He will comfort and heal all those who mourn for God’s peoples’ suffering and sins. 18. Psalms 107: 19-21 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saveth them out of their distresses. He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! This verse teaches that when believers humble themselves, repent, and cry out to the Lord, He saves and delivers all from destruction and sicknesses. 19. Psalms 6:2 King James version Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. We serve a merciful and just God. Like David, if we can humble ourselves, acknowledge our weaknesses and sin, and cry out to God, He will surely heal our wounds and brokenness. 20. Psalms 147: 1-3 ESV Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant,[a] and a song of praise is fitting. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. This Psalm reminds Christians of our duty to praise the Lord for all He has done. God takes care of His people as He did with Jerusalem. When we wander away from God, He finds a way to bring us closer to Him. Moreover, the Lord offers comfort for all the wounded and brokenhearted believers. 21. Psalms 30:10-11 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. Like David, believers can fall or be overwhelmed by the things of this world. For this reason, we cry out to God to hold our hands and be merciful. The Psalm shows that God can restore joy and peace for His people even after mourning or a bad experience. 22. Jeremiah 17: 14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Jeremiah calls out to the Lord to heal him of his iniquities, wounds, or sickness. He was aware of the sins of the people against God at the time. Knowing that he could confidently call unto God to heal and save him, Jeremiah seeks God and also acknowledges God for His goodness. 23. Psalms 73: 25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength[a] of my heart and my portion forever. The Psalmist acknowledges that besides God, there is no other thing on earth (including earthly wealth) that can fulfill him or give the satisfaction he needs. Therefore, even though we may stumble or fall to our desires we should always turn to God for He alone can strengthen and comfort our hearts. 24. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Before Jesus ascended into heaven after resurrection, He gave believers peace as an inheritance. It is this peace that enables us to weather storms and the ups and downs of life. For we know that we can trust in Him to take care of whatever is troubling us. Further, what Lord gives is different from what this world provides as comfort for the heart and soul. 25. Proverbs 17: 22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones A cheerful heart has a similar effect to your health and body as good medicine. However, a crushed spirit makes your life sad. Therefore, the verse encourages us always to have a joyful heart as it is the secret to enjoying life and living in the fullness of His glory. 26. Revelations 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Christians live with the assurance that the Lord can take away all the pain, mourning, fear of death and tears. As such, no matter what happens in the past, believers know that they are a new creation. 27. Isaiah 53:5 King James Version But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. Even though most people use this verse to refer to physical healing, it mostly speaks about the sacrifice of Christ. Through Christ, we are free from our transgressions and guilt. In return, believers receive the gift of peace and reconciliation with our Lord. 28. 1 Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. Like Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24 talks about Jesus’ sacrifice so that we may live in righteousness. 29. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. God had made a covenant with the Israelites that if they would repent, pray, follow His commands and seek Him, He would bless them and heal their land. Today, most people interpret this verse to mean that if believers would repent, pray, and humble themselves, God would bless and heal their land. 30. Isaiah 33:2 O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. This verse shows that with faith you can call unto the Lord and wait for Him to comfort and heal you in times of trouble. 31. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 speaks about the different seasons in life including periods of mourning and healing. So, whatever season you may be in trust the Lord for He can turn your mourning into dancing. READ ALSO: How to fast and pray The Bible scriptures on healing above can help believers battling with sicknesses, broken hearts, and wounds. So, be encouraged that the Lord is using whatever circumstance for good. Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/287546-bible-scriptures-healing.html#287546

BOLSONARO WINS US PRAISE AFTER LEAVING POOR WITHOUT DOCTORS

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247)

(TO THE PEOPLE OF BRAZIL AND TO THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD, MOST OF THE PEOPLE HERE IN THE U.S. REALIZE THAT DONALD TRUMP IS TOTALLY MORALLY BANKRUPT)(OLDPOET56)