WTO decides: no TRIPS waiver

Trade delegates and WTO Secretariat celebrate package of documents issued at the end of the Ministerial Conference, yet outlook for Global South remains bleak

Peoples Health Dispatch | June 17, 2022

Activists stage a “die-in” action at the WTO Ministerial Conference to protest the lack of TRIPS waiver (Photo: Our World is Not for Sale

The WTO announced on June 17 that it had reached an agreement on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver. The deal has been criticized by people’s movements around the world as the WTO decidedly rejected the demand by health activists for a full TRIPS waiver.

The ministerial decision on the TRIPS agreement, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, was announced in the early morning in Geneva on June 17, almost two days after the expected end of the 12th Ministerial Conference. Although the decision was hailed by the WTO Secretariat and officials from the Global North as an unprecedented result, in practice it falls short of meeting the bare minimum of the world’s needs.

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Book: Truth and Lies about the famine in Ukraine, by Nikos Mottas

In Defense of Communism | June 18, 2022

The mythology surrounding the so-called Holodomor, the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, is exposed in a concise 78-pages book edited by Nikos Mottas and published in Greek language by Atexnos Publishing House.

For many decades, the issue of the Ukrainian famine in 1932-33, the famous Holodomor, occupies a prominent place in the arsenal of anti-communism. Especially after the counter-revolutionary overthrows in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, the Holodomor is at the forefront of a systematic and persistent attempt to vilify socialism of the 20th century and present it as an evil, inhumane system which is supposedly responsible for millions of deaths. 

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Two giants twinned by history

Two giants who share a birth date and common ideals. Two men who both, in different times, dignified our country’s past to illuminate our present and future. Two heroes of the Revolution who are June children, Antonio Maceo Granjales and Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna

Mailenys Oliva Ferrales

Granma | June 14, 2022

Photocomposition: Carlos M. Perdomo

Distances matter little – in time and kilometers – if two names remain eternal in the memory of a country, fused as the same reference of integrity and courage. Two giants that history has twinned beyond a shared birth date and common ideals. Two men who both, in different times, dignified our country’s past to illuminate our present and future. Two heroes of the Revolution who are June children, Antonio Maceo Granjales and Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna.
In Santiago de Cuba the first was born. It was 1845 when the Maceo family baptized the boy who would become a renowned Mambí leader in Cuba’s wars of independence.

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Russian Sanctions Are Hurting U.S. WAY MORE Than Russia

The contempt US intelligentsia and politicians have for Russia’s accomplishments has rendered them blind to Moscow’ true economic strengths

U.S.-led sanctions were supposed to cripple Russia’s economy and force Putin to pull out of Ukraine, but it turns out that the suffering from these sanctions in an interdependent global economy are spread around, as American consumers are discovering with record-high gas prices. So what happened? According to one French economist, Americans fundamentally failed to understand the importance of Russia’s productive output and talk of Russia’s economy being “the same size as Spain’s” reflected a similar misunderstanding of the modern global economy. Jimmy and The Dive’s Jackson Hinkle tackle the consequences of the west’s underestimating Russian economic power.

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Biden Funnels MORE Money To His Donors By Hiking Medicare Prices To Record Level

Even The Young Turks—a Democrat-backed outlet— is denouncing this outrageous premium hike, falling on poorer people living on fixed incomes

The Young Turks | June 14, 2022

The Biden Administration stealthily hiked Medicare premiums to their highest prices ever while simultaneously pushing to funnel even more money into the private health insurance industry, further privatizing the government insurance program. It’s also important to note that Biden took around $47 million on legalized bribes from health care executives during his 2020 presidential campaign. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.

“Last week, the Biden administration quietly reaffirmed its decision to enact the highest Medicare premium hikes in history right before this year’s midterm elections. At the same time, President Joe Biden is endorsing a plan to funnel significantly more Medicare money to insurance companies and further privatize the government insurance program for older Americans and those with disabilities. In effect, the higher premium increases will subsidize the larger payments to — and profits for — private insurance corporations. This comes after Biden raked in roughly $47 million from health care industry executives during his 2020 campaign. The Biden administration announced on May 27 that due to “legal and operational hurdles,” Medicare recipients won’t see their premiums lowered this year, even though that rate was originally hiked last November in large part due to the projected costs of paying for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug that Medicare now says it generally will not cover. The administration’s announcement comes as Biden officials move forward with a jolting 8.5 percent hike in payments made to private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans next year.”

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Yellow Vest Win: The death of Western parliamentary democracy as the most progressive government

“The failure lies in the fact that Western Liberal Democracy simply is not a democracy, in the sense that neither majority rule nor the supreme rule of the people is ever achieved…”

The reign of Louis Philippe I is known as the era of reform and was in the beginning dominated by wealthy industrialists and bankers. Louis-Philippe—an avid colonizer—has the dubious honour of seizing Algeria. We know how that ended.

(This is the fifteenth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

People often do not realise what a historically recent concept this is in human society – the primacy of the people and not just a person.

Perhaps the biggest change for the average Frenchman in the changeover from Charles X of the Bourbons to Louis-Philippe of the House of Orleans in 1830 is that the latter accepted to be the king “of the French” instead of the king “of France”. This brand change did nothing on a practical level but it reflected the legacy initiated in 1789: the people’s newfound sense that only they bestow legitimacy, instead of a claimed divine theocratic right. Louis-Philippe would be the last unelected royal in France, but it took World War I to wipe away arrogant, unelected royalty in most of Europe (12 monarchs still reign in Europe, which has about 45 nations). Thus the change from millennia of a falsely divine monarchy is a very historically recent one, and much this book aims to remind that the cultural traits of autocracy – for those who cannot divine it in the governance style of Emmanuel Macron – is pernicious and pervasive today, still.

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Libya: Imperialism and the Left

The US imperialist ruling class is the world’s most dangerous predator. Immoral and opportunistic, it can prey on anyone, including “class allies”

Stephen Gowans

Gaddafi murdered, after being assassinated by the Western press. The imperial signature. Put it on Clinton, Sarkozy, and Obama’s tab—and a zillion accomplices.

While the class character of regimes under siege by Western powers is often explored in analyses of imperialist interventions and is frequently invoked to justify them, it neither explains why capitalist imperialist powers intervene nor stands as a justification for their actions.

The relevant consideration in explaining why interventions occur is not the political orientation of the government under siege, nor its relations with its citizens, but whether it accommodates the profit-making interests of the dominant class in the intervening countries. Does it welcome foreign investment, allow repatriation of profits, demand little in the way of corporate income tax, open its markets, and offer abundant supplies of cheap labor and raw materials? Or does it impose high tariffs on imports, subsidize domestic production, operate state-owned enterprises (displacing opportunities for foreign-private-owned ones), force investors to take on local partners, and insist that workers be protected from desperation wages and intolerable working conditions?

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Guardians of the brain: how a special immune system protects our grey matter

The nervous and immune systems are tightly intertwined. Deciphering their chatter might help address many brain disorders and diseases.

Diana Kwon

Nature | June 01, 2022

The brain’s immune system includes a network of transport vessels (blue) and its own immune cells made in the bone marrow (green). Credit: Siling Du, Kipnis lab, Washington University in St. Louis

The brain is the body’s sovereign, and receives protection in keeping with its high status. Its cells are long-lived and shelter inside a fearsome fortification called the blood–brain barrier. For a long time, scientists thought that the brain was completely cut off from the chaos of the rest of the body — especially its eager defence system, a mass of immune cells that battle infections and whose actions could threaten a ruler caught in the crossfire.

In the past decade, however, scientists have discovered that the job of protecting the brain isn’t as straightforward as they thought. They’ve learnt that its fortifications have gateways and gaps, and that its borders are bustling with active immune cells.

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Universal health coverage and incarceration

Tyler N A Winkelman, MD, Kayla C Dasrath, MD, Jesse T Young, PhD & Stuart A Kinner, PhD

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: June, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00113-X

Summary
Global progress towards universal coverage of essential health services, a component of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.8, is measured at the country level using the WHO Service Coverage Index. However, data collection for this crucial metric excludes prisons and youth detention centres, despite the health needs in these settings, chronic underinvestment in custodial health care, and poor health outcomes for people released from custody in most countries. Particularly in countries with high incarceration rates, failure to include custodial settings in calculations of the service coverage index might result in overestimation of progress towards SDG 3.8.1, and mask important health inequalities. In this Viewpoint, we explore how failure to consider custodial settings in calculation of the service coverage index contributes to health inequalities and impedes progress towards SDG 3. We recommend explicitly considering all custodial settings in future estimates of progress towards universal health coverage.

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Environment and war today

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | June 05, 2022

War environs environment.

War destructs and demolishes life, all forms of environment. It’s war’s powerful approach to contradictions within and with environment surrounding life. Wars including the current Ukraine War bear this signature of destruction of and on environment and ecology. The first victim is life; and, then comes surroundings of life that help sustain life. Activities to secure, nourish and sustain environment are hampered/suspended during war, and in war zones also.

Military activities, preparatory to war including training/drills/exercises, itself is threat to environment and ecology. Military/war expenditure is in direct and hostile contradiction with environment and ecology. The expenditure takes away a lot of resources, which can be allocated for life, steps to nourish and secure environment and ecology. The sphere of destruction of environment and ecology widens as the sphere of war widens. Today’s Ukraine is the witness. Iraq and Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Vietnam are witnesses. Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as witnesses.

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