Israel: Police say they were helpless to stop funeral of rabbi that drew 10,000

The funeral of a prominent rabbi in Jerusalem that was attended by thousands sparked backlash from the public, politicians and business owners on Sunday as the police said they were helpless to prevent the mass violation of lockdown rules.

Some 10,000 people attended the funeral and procession of Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, who died overnight after battling COVID-19 for several months. Lockdown rules cap outdoor gatherings at 10 people.

Soloveitchik, the head of the Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem and scion of the Soloveitchik rabbinical dynasty, died early Sunday morning at the age of 99.

A second funeral of a top ultra-Orthodox rabbi is expected later Sunday night, with authorities bracing for the possibility of thousands showing up again in violation of lockdown rules. Rabbi Yitzhok Scheiner, 98, head of Jerusalem’s Kamenitz yeshiva, died Sunday of the coronavirus.

The issue of lockdown enforcement in ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, communities has repeatedly made headlines recently amid reports of flagrant violations, accusations of poor enforcement, and violent protests against police who try to ensure that the closure is being obeyed.

Police sources told Hebrew media Sunday that it was not possible to prevent the funeral because any attempt to intervene would have resulted in “bloodshed.”

“There’s no doubt that this was a mass violation that would have required thousands of police officers to stop it,” a police source said. “In the period of time between the announcement of the funeral and it starting, there were no options for taking action.”

A police source told Channel 13 that young children attended the funeral, preventing officers from using horses and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

A senior police official told Walla news, “What did you expect? That we’ll use force and cause casualties?”

Ofer Shumer, a senior Jerusalem police official, told Channel 12 officers had stopped about 60 buses heading to the funeral and turned them back and issued around 100 fines.

“Yes, the funeral was large… but remember the people have a responsibility. Their leaders have a responsibility,” Shumer said. “Ultimately, the police can’t tackle everybody who breaks the restrictions”

“I personally saw 1,000 kids aged 10-14. The ultra-Orthodox are not our enemies. They are citizens of Israel,” Shumer said. “I won’t spill blood in order to enforce the coronavirus restrictions. We won’t spill blood. the police won’t do it.”

Police used water cannons to disperse anti-corruption protesters outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence on Saturday night, sending one person to the hospital.

Asked about the apparent inconsistency, Shumer said, “Every sector of the populace has its own characteristics… This is not simple work.”

An unnamed senior police official told Channel 12 after the first funeral on Sunday, “Anything can be dispersed. The question is at what cost.”

“If the police had forcefully dispersed the funeral, including by using tear gas, water cannons and clubs, it would have ended with hundreds injured among the protesters and the police,” he said.

“We are alone in this effort. don’t expect us, and only us, to do the dirty work — at the price of bloodshed.”

Before the funeral, police called on the public not to join in the procession or the burial and said they were in “negotiations” with community leaders to prevent the mass gatherings.

Business leaders and independent workers also fumed over the funeral, as the lockdown, Israel’s third, has kept most businesses shuttered.

The restrictions in the past year have devastated the economy and have hit business owners especially hard.

The influential “I am Shulman” protest group representing independent business owners lashed out at authorities for standing by while thousands massed at the funeral in the capital.

“Enforcement is selective,” said Avi Haimov, a group member who owns a shnitzel restaurant.

“There is no governance and no management. The lockdown is not a lockdown, and when it’s not a lockdown everyone starts to interpret it how they want.”

“Logic has left the building, gone bankrupt, and these are the pictures of it. The public has lost faith,” he told Channel 12.

Roy Cohen, head of Lahav, the Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses, said, “Again, the government proves it is enforcing the lockdown selectively, and the public, independent workers, and small businesses are paying the price.”

Shai Berman, head of the Israel Restaurant Association, said, “This lockdown, like all of the management of the coronavirus crisis, is a resounding failure for the Israeli government. Who pays the price for selective enforcement is the business sector in general and the restaurant industry in particular.”

Eliran Bardogo, who heads a group pushing to open cultural events, said, “The images from Jerusalem today are beyond belief. For a year, the world of culture and events has been closed, and even after a meeting with the prime minister, there’s no expectation for when it will reopen.”

Residents of Tel Aviv also blasted police for enforcing minor infractions in the secular city, including by checking drivers at checkpoints and demanding that individuals clear the city’s central Dizengoff Square.

“When I saw the gatherings in Jerusalem I felt like they were laughing in my face,” one Tel Aviv resident told Ynet. “For a few weeks already, the police won’t let people who live here sit in the square when it’s totally empty, and on the other side, thousands are gathering in Jerusalem without any enforcement at all.”

Leaders of extremist ultra-Orthodox groups in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood told followers to stop their work and studies to attend the funeral, and transportation from the neighborhood ferried people to the event, the Ynet news site reported.

An announcer at the event told participants, nonsensically, to “adhere to Health Ministry rules.”

Some participants told Ynet, “We already had the coronavirus. The virus only remains now among you [secular Israelis].”

Nathan Rozenblum, who attended the funeral, told Channel 12, “Sadly, I have had to attend many such funerals recently, because of the coronavirus, and lessons have been learned.”

But the rabbi was “head of a yeshiva for 75 years who taught tens of thousands,” he said.

Rozenblum said that the fact that only 4,000 attended the funeral showed restraint by the community. Most reports put the number of participants at 10,000.

Walla also reported that schools opened Sunday morning in several Jerusalem neighborhoods in violation of the lockdown.

Politicians, including some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allies on the right, also blasted the funeral. Netanyahu is closely allied with ultra-Orthodox parties who have consistently pushed against lockdown rules.

Israel is several weeks into its third nationwide lockdown to combat the virus, but infection rates remain high, with thousands of new “cases” diagnosed each day.

There are violations of the rules in all areas of the country, but there have been repeated reports of flagrant rule-breaking in some ultra-Orthodox communities, including by opening schools, holding holiday events and celebrating weddings.

Infection “rates” in the ultra-Orthodox community are disproportionately high, likely due to lockdown infractions as well as crowded living conditions and other factors.

Police attempting to enforce regulations in some ultra-Orthodox areas have met with violent resistance including outright rioting and attacks on officers, especially in Bnei Brak, next to Tel Aviv.

Ultra-Orthodox community leaders have accused the police of using excessive force.

The cabinet was meeting on extending the lockdown on Sunday evening, following the approval of a law raising fines against violators.

Ministers are also expected to extend the shutdown of Ben Gurion Airport for another two weeks.

Health officials want to extend the lockdown for another week as virus infection rates remain high despite three weeks of lockdown and a rapid mass vaccination program.

Header: Ultra-Orthodox men attend the funeral of late Rabbi Yitzchok Sheiner in Jerusalem, January 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Source: TOI

Fresh data show toll South African virus variant takes on vaccine efficacy

Clinical trial data on two COVID-19 vaccines show that a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa is lessening their ability to protect against the illness, underscoring the need to vaccinate vast numbers of people as quickly as possible, scientists said.

The vaccines from Novavax Inc and Johnson & Johnson were welcomed as important future weapons in curbing deaths and hospitalizations in a pandemic that has infected more than 101 million people and claimed over 2 million lives worldwide.

But they were significantly less effective at preventing COVID-19 in trial participants in South Africa, where the potent new variant is widespread, compared with countries in which this mutation is still rare, according to preliminary data released by the companies.

“Clearly, the mutants have a diminishing effect on the efficacy of the vaccines,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in a briefing. “We can see that we are going to be challenged.”

Novavax reported midstage trial results on Thursday that showed its vaccine was 50% effective overall at preventing COVID-19 among people in South Africa.

That compared with late-stage results from the United Kingdom, in which the vaccine was up to 89.3% effective at preventing COVID-19.

On Friday, J&J said a single shot of its coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective overall in a massive trial across three continents.

But there were wide differences by region.

In the United States, where the South African variant was first reported this week, efficacy reached 72%, compared with just 57% in South Africa, where the new variant, known as B 1.351, made up 95% of the COVID-19 cases reported in the trial.

Another highly transmissible variant first discovered in the UK and now in more than half of U.S. states has been less able to evade vaccine efficacy than its South African counterpart.

The new findings, however, raise questions about how highly-effective vaccines from Pfizer Inc with partner BioNTech, and Moderna Inc will fare against new variants. The two vaccines showed an efficacy of around 95% in trials conducted primarily in the United States before the new virus versions were identified in other countries.

“It’s a different pandemic now,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who helped develop the J&J vaccine.

Barouch said there are now a wide variety of new variants circulating, including in Brazil, South Africa and even the United States, that are substantially resistant to vaccine-induced antibodies.

Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said there was “a high possibility” that emerging variants may eventually render the company’s vaccine ineffective.

“This is not the case yet … but I think it’s a very high likelihood that one day that will happen,” Bourla said at the World Economic Forum. The drugmaker is considering whether its vaccine needs to be altered to defend against the South African variant.


Experts said that all four vaccines still have great value in their ability to reduce severe COVID-19.

“The end game is to stop death, to stop hospitals from going into crisis – and all of these vaccines, even including against the South African variant, seem to do that substantially,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, in infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

For example, J&J’s vaccine was 89% effective at preventing severe disease in South Africa.

J&J Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said he suspects a type of immune system reaction called a T-cell response is playing a protective role and may be helping to prevent severe disease.

“We knew that to a certain extent, but it’s also better and very confirming that we can see that now in the clinic,” Stoffels said in an interview.

Nevertheless, Fauci said the decreased efficacy rates underscore the need to follow variants closely, and to accelerate vaccination efforts before new, and even more dangerous, mutations arise.

“The best way to prevent further evolution of a virus is to prevent it from replicating,” Fauci said, “and you do that by vaccinating people as quickly as you possibly can.”

Header: (FILES) In this file photo taken on December 08, 2020 a member of staff poses with a phial of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination health centre in Cardiff, South Wales’. – An expert committee convened by the US Food and Drug Administration on December 10, 2020, voted heavily in favor of recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use approval. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / various sources / AFP)


The simple way to bring down Amazon

During Prohibition, Al Capone’s alcohol racket seemed unstoppable. Who would have thought we could bring the whole thing down with income tax evasion?

It might be that simple to prevent Big Tech from becoming Big Brother.

Parler is a social media platform for political conservatives. It had 15 million followers before being arbitrarily shut down by Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon on January 10.

AWS claims that as a private company, they have the right to offer or refuse service to whom they want and the right of free speech does not apply to them.

What about the fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder value?

Parler was launched two years ago. It grew from a small idea to a social media behemoth with 15 million users.

Like most applications that scale up fast, their emphasis was on the front-end user experience.

However, their back end was what most back ends are for applications that are gaining a large audience quickly: piecemeal and sluggish.

That makes sense.

Why put money into something that will be a major issue a few years from now when you can focus on growing your audience, and using it to get mega financing. Once the ink on the venture capital check dries, you can then worry about your DevOps architecture.

As a result, they paid through the nose to store all the information their users were giving them, and even more to service the compute requests involved with managing 12 million people all asking the server to upload a picture, send a message, communicate this chat, register a “like” and the rest.

Who did they pay to handle all of this?

Amazon Web Services (AWS), their cloud provider.

How much did Parler pay Amazon?

Estimates range from $600,000 to a cool million dollars per month.

Did Amazon knowingly throw away a $10 million client?

I wonder what their shareholders think of that?

The Earnings Potential of Parler

Let’s do some simple detective work.

On January 10, 2021, when Amazon turned Parler off, President Donald Trump had less than 10 days remaining in his administration.

Twitter was likely waiting close out his account once he was a private citizen. The events of January 6 just gave them an excuse to do it sooner.

President Trump’s twitter account had over 88 million followers. Once twitter did the inevitable, all Mr. Trump had to do was announce he was using Parler as his primary social media platform and Parler could expect, at least, another 45 million users.

That’s three times the number of users it has currently.

Let’s do a little math.

Parler was paying Amazon $10 million to manage 15 million users, it could be paying $40 million per year to manage 60 million users.

That’s just the beginning.

For Parler to scale up that much so fast would mean their cloud infrastructure will be a nightmare. Paying $.66 per user might be a little conservative. Amazon could be making more than $40 million.

Twitter boasts 145 million daily active users. If Parler were to expand to have a third of that, it would be an up-and-coming competitor to Twitter. That means more funding. It means more services offered.

Over the long term, Parler would be paying even more money to Amazon.

The more you use a cloud platform, the more you are locked into their systems.

If Parler were to scale up rapidly and do all of it on Amazon’s systems, it would be even more impossible for them to migrate to another platform.

Parler, willingly or not, would be an even longer-term customer to Amazon.

The case can be made that Amazon made a reckless decision to deny their shareholders of up to $100 million in revenue over the next three years. Amazon trades at a price to sales ratio of 4.6 so they deprived the shareholders of almost half a billion dollars.

That might not mean much to the executives, but to the teachers, firemen, and union workers who all rely on the share prices of the assets in their pension funds to be able to retire one day, this is significant.

Amazon executives actively sabotaged their company by cannibalizing an almost guaranteed income stream poised to grow exponentially.

This is grounds for a shareholder lawsuit against Amazon.

The punitive damages against a company for restraining its own financial growth over the personal political preference of a handful of members can be massive.

Massive enough to make sure any hi-tech company thinks twice the next time it tries to rape us of the freedom our fathers gave us with their blood and sacrifice.

Rudy Giuliani? Sidney Powell? Jason Greenblatt? David Friedman?

Is there a lawyer in the house?

Source: David Ben Horin – Arutz Sheva

Israel: Over 3 million receive 1st vaccine shot, but COVID-19 outbreak still raging

Israel has administered a first vaccine dose to over 3 million of its 9.3 million citizens, the Health Ministry reported Sunday, as the country’s inoculation campaign continues to lead the world in vaccinations per capita, even while it struggles to contain a third outbreak of the virus despite a weeks-long national lockdown.

According to figures released by the ministry, 3,005,382 people, 32.61 percent of Israel’s total population, have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while 1,728,625 people have received the second dose — 18.76% of the population.

The data showed that the rate of vaccinations was the highest among those aged 70 to 79, with 92% of that age group having received the first dose and 79.9% also having been given the second.

For Israelis over 90, 87.6% had received the dose and 74.4% had received the second. In the 80 to 89 age group, the figures were at 85% for the first dose and 72.8% for the second; for 60- to 69-year-olds, 75% and 61.2%.

Figures also showed that 63.6% of 50- to 59-year-olds had received the first dose of vaccine, 50.1% of 40- to 49-year-olds, 27.9% of 30- to 39-year-olds and 22.1% of 20- to 29-year-olds.

Israel’s mass vaccination program kicked off by giving the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech shots to medical workers, those over age 60, and at-risk groups.

As the drive has raced ahead the age limit has steadily dropped, going down to 35 this week. Vaccination has also already been opened to teachers of all ages and pregnant women.

In addition, many vaccination centers have been offering shots to all who want them at the end of each day in order to prevent extra vaccine units, which must be used within a set amount of time, from going to waste.

The government has set a goal of inoculating the entire over-16 population by late March.

At the same time as the ambitious vaccine drive pushes ahead, the Health Ministry also reported Sunday that 10% of the 26,000 coronavirus tests carried out on Saturday had come back positive.

There have now been a total of 640,644 coronavirus “cases” in the country, including 72,026 active “cases”. Of the 1,814 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,162 were defined as serious “cases”, with 383 in critical condition and 298 on ventilators.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 4,745 coronavirus patients have died, 23 of them on Saturday.

More than 25 percent of Israel’s total COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic have been registered this month alone.

With the cabinet set to meet Sunday evening, the Health Ministry is expected to seek a week-long extension of the nationwide lockdown, according to media reports Saturday night. The Knesset will also convene on Sunday afternoon to vote on a bill that will raise fines for lockdown violators, paving the way for the extension of the nationwide closure.

The lockdown, now entering its fourth week, is currently set to end overnight Sunday. Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party has said it will not approve extending the lockdown until the bill on raising fines is passed into law, amid a lack of enforcement in ultra-Orthodox areas leading to gross violations of the health guidelines.

When the cabinet does convene, opinions are divided on how many days to add to the closure, which has shuttered all non-essential businesses and the education system, with the exception of special education institutes.

While the Health Ministry reportedly wants to add another week, ending the closure after the weekend to take advantage of two days when much of the country would not be at work anyway, some ministers prefer an extension of just a few days.

In addition, the Health Ministry is reportedly opposed to suggestions that some aspects of the lockdown be eased, in particular by reopening parts of the education system and certain commercial activities.

According to Channel 12, health officials are considering a plan to begin reopening preschools and grades 1-3 next Sunday, February 7.

Source: TOI

What drove Obama into Iran’s arms?

What actually drove Obama to make the JCPOA deal with Iran that was not worth the paper it was written on?

Strictly speaking, Obama politically came with very little experience in the Illinois Senate or in the US Senate.

He had highly questionable friends who were ignored by the mainstream media who sold him as the anti-Bush. As such, he was purely a product of the media, hardly an elected group of people.

Obama’s friend, Bill Ayers, probably the ghost writer of Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” and “Change We can Believe In”, was a professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago as well as during the 1970s, a former leader of the Weather Underground, a radical leftist organization.

Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, were the two top leaders of the organization. In early 1970, the group had begun a series of bombings, primarily of government buildings, that would continue through to 1975. They were both spared federal prosecution due to government misconduct during their investigation.

Of course, when running for president, Obama’s campaign dismissed any major relationship with Ayers, which was only to be expected. He also distanced himself from the highly controversial Rev. Wright, whose church he frequented for a number of years.

In addition, the question of where Obama was born has been raised numerous times, and why he did not make his birth certificate immediately available.

One thing that has never been made public were his university grades, which is a good question.

Obama’s early background is generally well known. In 1960, his Kenyan father, Barack Hussein Obama Senior, met and dated an American woman, Stanley Ann Dunham while studying at the University of Hawaii on a special government-sponsored program. She became pregnant and they were married on the Hawaiian island of Maui on 2 February 1961. Their son, future US president Barack Hussein Obama, was born in August 1961. In 1964 they separated and divorced.

A year later, his mother then married Lolo Soetoro and they moved to Indonesia where Obama was schooled in an Islamic Madrassa until he was ten years old.

Children’s early formative experiences deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. I have no doubt his early years being brought up as a Muslim influenced him deeply for the rest of his life.

After age ten, he was sent to Hawaii where he went to school, while living with his grandparents.

Now to the issue at hand, that is Iran.

Without doubt, Obama’s early Islamic upbringing has had enormous influence on his beliefs and shaped his future actions.

He became president, declared that building bridges with the Islamic world would be a high priority of his administration. He then gave a dreadful speech in Cairo in which he apologized for the United States’ alleged misdeeds, bowed to the Saudi King whose government funded Islamic jihad worldwide, and praised the new Islamist government under Erdogan in Turkey after the Turkish-sponsored Mavi Marmara Gaza incident.

Ingratiating himself with Islam he essentially distanced himself from Israel as a way of currying favour with Muslim autocracies and dictatorships.

He banned the US intelligence community from speaking truthfully about Islam, thus constraining them. Much of his actions were catastrophic and with Biden reappointing Obama’s apparatchiks, we will see a rehash of his policies.

On that first trip to the Middle East, Obama deliberately avoided visiting Israel, displaying a dislike of Israel and probably Jews as well, and thus setting the tone for his presidency.

Throughout his Presidency he was hamstrung by the US Congress, which was pro-Israel.

His aversion for Israel was illustrated many times in his relationship with and treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And even until his last days in office, he deliberately promoted and sponsored an anti-Israel resolution in the United Nations, which he then refused to veto.

Obama’s opinion of the Middle East, of which he has proven he knows very little, is evident in his latest book, “The Promised Land”, in which his “history” of Israel is without substance and totally inaccurate.

I even suspect he had someone else pen it for him and included it without verifying any of it at all, or liked what he read and obviously agreed with it.

If it was penned by him, it is a glaring example of his total lack of knowledge about Israel and its history or even his disdain. More likely, it shows his bias and bigotry.

What Obama realised in the Middle East was that all the Arab Sunni states, which, following numerous failed attempts, proved that none were equipped to take on Israel, showed that Israel had become the military powerhouse in the region.

The only Islamic state with the aggression and militancy to possibly take on Israel was Iran. In addition, Iran was working on developing a nuclear weapon.

I don’t have to describe the damage a nuclear bomb could do to tiny Israel with her major population centred along the Mediterranean coast.

One wonders if it had occurred to Obama that a nuclear bomb affixed to a ballistic missile could threaten America and all the USA’s allies in Europe as well.

Maybe he didn’t care. Obama has displayed a great dislike for the United States and they voted him in twice. It really showed the power of a one-sided media.

One also wonders if the “genius”, Obama, was actually aware of Iran’s Shiite ambitions to spread its version of Islam across the entire world. Maybe he was and it appealed to him. In the 1,400 years of Islam, the Shiite version was always the lesser accepted form as the Sunnis dominated the religion, which propagated an internecine conflict of equal length since the passing of Mohammed.

From Obama’s perspective, Iran was the state with which to develop a relationship.

The mullahs have the will, aggression and desire to destroy Israel, which they have expressed continuously. However, Iran’s nuclear ambitions posed a PR problem. Therefore, Obama relied on the belief that Iran could not be stopped, and as a result the US and some of its European partners negotiated a deal, which on the surface could be sold to a compliant and ever helpful main stream media, which in turn would sell it to the world’s public.

Iran would agree not to develop a nuclear weapon for at least ten years, after which they would be free to do so. This could follow without any international interference.

Obama, by then, would have “kicked the can down the road” for a future President to deal with along with the possible fate of Israel.

Whether Iran would comply didn’t really bother anyone, and clauses contained in the agreement limited inspections to civilian sites only whilst excluding military sites — which is, of course, exactly where nuclear weapons would be developed.

This was not only an awful and extremely bad agreement, which appeared to be Obama’s intention, but it has never been ratified by the US Congress.

Part of the “deal” was that Obama would transfer huge amounts of cash to the Iranians in the amount of $150 to $170 billion.

It remains questionable as to how much of it would find its way into Obama’s pocket.

If this was so, a Democrat aligned media would be part of the conspiracy in covering it up.

During the signing and lead up to the JCPOA, I was always struck by the arrogance and cocksureness of Mohammad Javad Zarif so much on display I suspected and speculated that he possibly had Obama and Kerry in his pocket.

This whole scheme essentially threw the USA’s Sunni Arab allies “under the bus” abandoning them with Iran simultaneously threatening them.

The great unintended irony, which had not been clearly thought through or even imagined, was that this would encourage the Sunni Arabs to make peace with Israel for their mutual defence as they no longer trusted America.

As a result, these states were no longer bound by a ridiculous Palestinian-imposed veto.

Their interests and defence obviously took precedence and under a Biden presidency, this situation would be even more relevant, with Obama very likely in the background pulling the Biden strings.

What appealed to Obama and his useless sidekick, John Kerry, was more the potential destruction of Israel, and perhaps to a lesser extent, limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The JCPOA agreement said nothing about the development of missiles, which should have been a logical inclusion. Why something so fundamental was omitted remains a mystery.

What should have occurred to them during negotiations was that a nuclear bomb has to be delivered. Iran has an antiquated air force which could not manage such a task. It could of course acquire aircraft from Russia or China.

However, the obvious and only alternative was via a ballistic missile. This is precisely what Iran has been developing and testing for years.

Recently, on the Tucker Carlson Show on Fox News, there was an interview with a Chinese professor with political connections in China at the highest level, who claimed that China “has infiltrated people within America’s inner circle of power and influence.”

While the main stream media ignored the “laptop from hell” that revealed all the Biden family’s corrupt dealings with China, Russia and Ukraine, the following video-link arrived and is damning evidence.

The American 2020 election is still fraught with allegations of fraud which seem more than plausible.

If Trump had remained president and had a second term, then the issues with Iran would remain as they are with stringent sanctions together with the US military presence around Iran with attack aircraft already in the region. With Biden declared president, we are in for a torrid time.

Israel will not allow Iran to develop the bomb, and has in the past set precedents both in Iraq and Syria, which would lead to the total destruction of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

In response, Iran could let loose its surrogates in the form of terrorist organisations Hezbollah and Hamas. This would initiate a war on two fronts domestically for Israel, both in Gaza and on the Lebanese border, possibly Syria and a third with Iran.

Hezbollah is known to have more than 150,000 missiles stored in Lebanon, and Hamas has many smuggled Iranian missiles as well as home-made Qassams.

A huge missile barrage might overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome and other missile defences.

However, Iran is similarly vulnerable, especially her single port for oil exports apart from its nuclear sites.

Should such an event occur with Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran would very likely become involved as it has been setting up bases in Syria which Israel continuously attacks.

The Sunni states – which include Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and Turkey – are unlikely to join in on the side of Iran and would in all likelihood assist Israel even if it only meant offering their air space, providing forward bases and use of their airports.

Iran has a substantial navy with submarines, and is a serious threat to Israel. If Trump had retained the presidency, assistance for Israel was assured. However, with Biden as President, America’s intervention on behalf of Israel is uncertain. Iran’s terrain is mountainous, but a fair amount of her nuclear facilities are not concealed.

The following Wikipedia link lists Iran’s nuclear facilities, and without doubt their exact GPS positions have already been programmed into Israel’s missile systems.

Underground facilities within mountains obviously provide for greater secrecy and security, but they have to have entrances and exits, which I am sure are known to Israel and the USA.

In this scenario, one also has to factor in Turkey. Erdogan has ambitions to become a Sultan and Caliph of the Sunni world.

Essentially he is in competition with Iran as they both have ambitions of resuscitating former empires. It might suit Erdogan to align himself with Iran and thereby eliminate Saudi Arabia as the current Sunni leadership country.

A pact between Turkey and Iran would be akin to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact which was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them.

As became evident, it didn’t last, as Germany eventually attacked Russia. Similarly, Turkey’s and Iran’s ambitions clash both in empire ambitions and religious affiliations. Erdogan has troops in Qatar, Sudan and Somalia, thus encompassing Saudi Arabia within a triangle.

Azerbaijan, currently an ally of both Israel and Turkey, is situated in the north of Iran on the Caspian Sea and may allow Israel’s aircraft to use their facilities. Whilst Iran will probably have Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, Israel may have the answer to that as is illustrated in its response to the S-300s in Syria.

In conclusion, I believe Obama had, and continues to have, an anti-Israel agenda and Iran, in his mind, is the only viable antagonist that could possibly achieve the destruction of, or cause major damage to Israel. Israel hardly wants a war or conflict with Iran, which would be no easy push-over.

As of June 2019, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Air Force possesses 350 fighters, making it the ninth largest air force in the world, as per Global Firepower. However, its air force is antiquated with much older generation planes, such as McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, F-14 Tomcats, Northrop F-5 Tiger II, their own light fighter, the HESA Saeqeh, and from China, the Chengdu J-7, a Chinese version of a MIG-21, as well as a number of other aircraft. I don’t think these are able to match F35s and F16s, and perhaps in the future, F22s. Iran has announced it will be acquiring more modern aircraft from China or possibly Russia.

One will have to see how the result of the American election challenges pans out for, in my opinion, the Biden-Obama combo would be a disaster for the world, Israel and the US.

Trump would have definitely held the line and, if push came to shove would end Iran’s nuclear ambitions permanently as well as the threat to Israel.

Source: David Hersch – Arutz Sheva

Black Lives Matter nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

According to The Guardian:

The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel peace prize for the way its call for systemic change has spread around the world.

In his nomination papers, the Norwegian MP Petter Eide said “…the movement had forced countries outside the US to grapple with racism within their own societies.”

“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Eide said.

“Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.”

“They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice.”

That’s right: a group led by self-described “trained Marxists” who literally spent time with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and then triggered night after night of violent looting riots at a cost of at least 25 lives and a record $2 billion in insured property claims (probably much more in uninsured property), and grotesque Red Guard–style repudiation scenes such as forcing restaurant diners to wave their fists in solidarity or face overturned tables and assault, is somehow…worthy of the world’s top award for peace.

Back in 1964, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the same prize for calls to judge people on the content of their character over color, along with non-violent resistance, there was a recognizable standard for peace. Such approaches don’t cut it anymore for this Norwegian bunch. And to place BLM in the same league as MLK Jr., is kind of obscene.

The Norwegian pol who put the nomination out cited BLM’s capacity to mobilize as his criterion. But that seems to be pretty shaky ground, given that so many leftists out there really just wanted to Get Trump.

BLM has since morphed into what appears to be a corporate shakedown racket and managed to get its Marxist identity politics party line into every corporate boardroom in America.

But the capacity to use muscling community organizer tactics is no evidence of morality, or more pointedly, peace. BLM is never going to be satisfied no matter how much kowtowing is done; each victory it wins brings a bigger demand to its marks, without ceasing, until its will to absolute power is achieved. Sound like peace? Only of the grave.

What it highlights is how low the Nobel Peace Prize has fallen.

Sure, this Norwegian socialist clown doing the nominating likely has no idea what’s going on in the States, given that he lives in isolated Norway, takes in meetings with activists, and reads only the leftist press.

The idiocy of his proposal tops that of the Norwegians handing out a Nobel prize to Barack Obama just for getting elected president and being black without doing anything else.

In both instances, the Nobel committee nominators seem to relish anyone with the ability to exert leftist power, equating that kind of power-mongering with “peace.”

It’s a sorry act they’ve come to, to worship power over any semblance of authentic peace. If this is peace, what a sorry state of affairs we have, mau-mauing triumph over actual creating of peace.

Will all Nobel Peace Prize recipients have to show proof of starting riots to qualify now? How, exactly, is riot-making “peace”? One likes to suppose that this nomination will go nowhere, but with the current nonsense going on, don’t bet on it.

Source: Monica Showalter – American Thinker

WHO team ‘Tightly Controlled’ by CCP during COVID-19 origins investigation

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s probe into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, appears to be nothing more than the media blitz that most skeptics predicted.

According to Reuters, the team’s visit is being “tightly controlled by its Chinese hosts” as they visited a hospital on Saturday in Wuhan which treated early COVID-19 patients.

On its second day after two weeks in quarantine, the team went to Jinyintan Hospital, where doctors had collected samples from patients suffering from an unidentified pneumonia in late 2019.

“Important opportunity to talk directly w/ medics who were on the ground at that critical time fighting COVID!”, team member Peter Daszak said on Twitter.

Team members leaving the hospital did not speak to journalists, who have been kept at a distance since the group left its quarantine hotel on Thursday.

And of course, the team will visit the Wuhan ‘wet’ market tied to the first cluster of cases – except the CCP razed and sanitized the site months ago.

Maybe the WHO team can take some memorable photos?

The WHO origins probe prominently includes Peter Daszak – president of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit group that has received millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funding to genetically manipulate coronaviruses with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Of note, Daszak drafted a February, 2020 statement in The Lancet on behalf of 27 prominent public health scientists which condemned “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

[E]mails obtained via public records requests show that EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak drafted the Lancet statement, and that he intended it to “not be identifiable as coming from any one organization or person” but rather to be seen as “simply a letter from leading scientists”.

Daszak wrote that he wanted “to avoid the appearance of a political statement”.

The 27 authors “strongly condemn[ed] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” and reported that scientists from multiple countries “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.” The letter included no scientific references to refute a lab-origin theory of the virus.

The emails show how members of EcoHealth Alliance played an early role in framing questions about possible lab origin of SARS-CoV-2 as “crackpot theories that need to be addressed,” as Daszak told The Guardian.

In short, the guy leading the WHO’s faux-investigation was working directly with the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s bat research team, and who insists COVID-19 has a natural origin (and couldn’t possibly have escaped the WIV), has a massive conflict of interest.

Source: Tyler Durden – ZEROHEDGE

COVID-19 : une étude remet en cause l’efficacité des confinements

Le 5 janvier 2021, une étude parue dans le European Journal of Clinical Investigation indique que les mesures strictes de confinement – comme celles mises en place en France en mars et octobre 2020 – n’apportent «pas d’avantages significatifs» dans la lutte contre la transmission du COVID-19.

Le confinement pourrait même faciliter cette transmission, rendue plus aisée dans les espaces fermés.

Cette étude comparative, intitulée «Evaluation des effets de l’obligation de rester à la maison et de fermer les entreprises sur la propagation du COVID-19», est signée par quatre scientifiques, dont le professeur John Ioannidis, un ponte de l’épidémiologie de l’université de Stanford, dont les travaux font autorité, comme le rappelle Les Echos le 29 janvier.

Ce travail de recherche compare l’augmentation du nombre de cas de contamination au COVID-19 dans huit pays (France, Angleterre, Allemagne, Iran, Pays-Bas, Italie, Espagne et Etats-Unis) ayant mis en place des mesures de confinement strictes, au niveau national ou local, avec les chiffres de la Suède et la Corée du Sud, deux pays ayant instauré des mesures beaucoup plus légères, sans interdiction de sortie du domicile ni fermeture des commerces.

«Les avantages de ces mesures agressives ne peuvent compenser leurs nombreux inconvénients»

Bien qu’ils admettent que «les comparaisons entre pays sont difficiles» en raison «des règles, des cultures et des relations différentes entre le gouvernement et les citoyens», les chercheurs arrivent à la conclusion qu’il n’existe pas «d’avantages significatifs» à pratiquer un confinement strict. «Les données ne peuvent pas exclure totalement la possibilité de certains avantages [mais] même s’ils existent, ces avantages ne peuvent compenser les nombreux inconvénients de ces mesures agressives», précisent-ils.

L’étude note que le confinement de la population pourrait même avoir un effet inverse à celui recherché en entraînant une augmentation du nombre de cas, dans la mesure où il favorise les contacts inter-personnels dans des espaces fermés, où le COVID-19 se transmet plus aisément.

«Des réductions similaires de la croissance des cas [de COVID-19] peuvent être obtenues avec des interventions moins restrictives» que le confinement, conclut l’étude.

«Des conclusions qui ne font évidemment pas consensus», note Les Echos, soulignant que cette étude était en train «d’enflammer» sur les réseaux sociaux la communauté des épidémiologistes, virologues et autres spécialistes de la pandémie.

Stratégies variées, facteurs multiples

Selon le bilan des autorités sanitaires françaises du 29 janvier, plus de 3 150 000 personnes ont été contaminées dans le pays depuis le début de la pandémie, et 75 620 sont mortes en lien avec le Covid pour une population nationale de quelque 67 millions d’habitants.

La Corée du Sud, selon une dépêche de l’agence Reuters du 29 janvier, a enregistré 77 395 cas de contamination et 1 399 morts liées au Covid au total, pour une population d’environ 51 millions d’habitants. Le pays asiatique, rapportait l’AFP il y a quelques jours, «est parvenu, par des tests massifs et le traçage des cas, à juguler l’épidémie en grande partie sur son territoire». L’agence précisait que les autorités avaient durci les règles de distanciation fin 2020 devant une recrudescence des cas.

La Suède, peuplée d’environ 10 millions d’habitants, a quant à elle enregistré plus de 566 000 cas au total et plus de 11 500 décès liés au COVID-19. L’AFP rappelait début janvier que le royaume nordique avait jusque-là mené une stratégie sanitaire basée principalement sur des recommandations, sans confinement et presque sans mesures coercitives. Une récente loi dote temporairement le gouvernement suédois de nouveaux pouvoirs contre l’épidémie, permettant notamment de fermer les restaurants et commerces pour la première fois.

Originaux: RT – FR

Didier Raoult sur le confinement : «On va rendre tout le monde fou»

Interviewé sur Radio Classique, le professeur marseillais Didier Raoult a déploré l’éventuel confinement à venir : «On ne va pas proposer à la population de vivre entièrement cloisonnée tout le reste de l’histoire de l’humanité !»

Le 28 janvier, le charismatique et controversé professeur de IHU de Marseille Didier Raoult, a répondu aux questions de Radio Classique, en partenariat avec Le Figaro. Evoquant le probable troisième confinement, Didier Raoult s’est fait critique : «C’est mieux de ne pas confiner [les gens], on va rendre tout le monde fou, on va ruiner les gens.»

«Le nombre de problèmes psychiatriques […] est en train d’exploser», alerte-t-il.

«Il va falloir s’arrêter à un moment !»

«Il faut revenir sur Terre», recommande ainsi Didier Raoult en assurant qu’il n’y a «pas d’évidence que les mesures sociales qui [ont] été prises [par le gouvernement] pour contrôler cette épidémie aient contrôlé quoi que ce soit».

«Il faut laisser les gens vivre, les soigner et on écrira avec le temps l’histoire de cette maladie», dit-il avec cet espérance : «On ne va pas proposer à la population de vivre entièrement cloisonnée tout le reste de l’histoire de l’humanité. Il va falloir s’arrêter à un moment !»

Pour lui, le gouvernement répond ainsi par ses mesures à l’épidémie avec une «émotion disproportionnée». Alors que le ministre de la Santé Olivier Véran a annoncé le même jour des chiffres inquiétants, notamment concernant la présence du variant anglais, Didier Raoult explique que les deux facteurs de la mortalité seraient «l’âge et l’obésité».

Pour lui, on vit «dans des sociétés d’obèses, les obèses sont particulièrement sensibles à cette maladie […] le vrai point de lutte c’est contre l’obésité et la consommation de boisson sucrée».

Originaux: RT – FR

A Brief Examination of Some Facts Related to Mass Vaccination

The case of Israel, leading the world by far in the mass vaccination contest, doesn’t leave much maneuvering room for skeptics.

Since Israel launched its vast vaccination campaign in December, it has been witnessing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

By now, the British Mutant has become Israel’s dominant COVID strain. Israel’s health system is on the brink of collapse.

In my article Guinea Pigs United I pointed out that the rise in cases and deaths correlates with the distribution of vaccines.

In Israel, the Orthodox Jewish communities that were vaccinated en masse saw COVID cases rise 16-fold, while Israeli Arabs who at large refrained from vaccination saw numbers of COVID cases dropping sharply.

But Israel is not alone. Some other states have followed a similar path and their situation is becoming as catastrophic as the crisis we witness in the Jewish State.

I would have loved to believe that it is not too late for Britain to postpone the current mass vaccination campaign and closely examine the possible correlation between mass vaccination and mutants.

For those who wonder, I am not against vaccines or modern medical practices, but I do contend that before a nation decides to inject a new substance into its muscle, it may want to verify what this substance is and what are the exact implications involved.

It is crucial to verify, for instance, whether the rise in lethal mutations that we have seen in Britain is related to mass vaccination and the vaccine trials that have been taking place in the kingdom since the summer.

The rapid change in the age of COVID-19 cases which we see in Israel and Britain also correlates with mass vaccination.

Do we know what are the implications of vaccines on pregnant women or embryos?

It is hardly a secret that those who seem to be enthusiastic about the vaccines are also claiming to be in favour of ‘good science’ or even ‘real’ science as they often refer to it.

The statistical facts that are related to mass vaccination are not very promising.

Examining the situation in the countries that are engaged in mass vaccination such as Israel, Britain, the USA and the UAE reveal that these countries witnessed a clear decline in COVID cases and deaths during late November and early December.

However, just a few days after those countries launched their vaccination campaigns, the numbers of COVID cases and consequently deaths went through the roof.

In comparison, you should also examine the case of Britain’s neighbours such as France, Belgium and Holland.

Those countries are subject to similar climate, urban conditions, and demography, yet COVID’s curve in these countries is completely the opposite: COVID deaths and cases that were in decline since mid-November, early December are still dropping until now.

None of these countries saw a sharp rise in cases, let alone deaths, in the given period (December, January).

As I was writing these lines I was informed that Portugal is also facing a COVID crisis. A brief examination of its latest data reveals that its COVID curve is identical to Britain and Israel. I obviously assumed that the current sharp rise in COVID cases is somehow related to the vaccine.

A quick internet check revealed that Portugal started its mass vaccination campaign on 27 December.

As you can see […], until that date the numbers of COVID cases per day were in clear decline. Yet, 3 days after the mass vaccination campaign started the numbers of cases started to grow exponentially.

Portugal’s health system is now on the verge of collapse. Its situation is identical with other countries that favoured the mass vaccination path.

On Optimism

Both British and Israeli governments report almost once a day about some ‘positive signs’ that may suggest that the ‘end of the pandemic’ is just behind the corner. These news are usually supported by claims about a ‘decline in cases.’

Needless to mention that reports on the ground usually contradict these optimistic suggestions. But since we are in a scientific mode, let’s examine the ‘statistics.’

A quick glance at British and Israeli ‘numbers’ reveal that the numbers of new cases in late January are in sharp decline, and this seems to be positive news, yet the number of daily deaths keep climbing. This is very worrying.

However, a quick examination of other European and Middle Eastern COVID statistics in countries such as Austria, France, Germany and Jordan reveals that the graphs representing numbers of new cases and daily deaths are almost identical in shape.

How do we then explain the peculiar anomaly that is reported in Israel and Britain: a ‘decline’ in cases on the one hand, a sharp exponential rise in deaths on the other?

One (clumsy) possible explanation is that in the mass vaccinated countries less people are contracting COVID, yet for those who do the virus is far deadlier.

This would mean that that if the vaccine is producing some positive results for the vaccinated (such as immunity), the general impact on the whole of society is pretty devastating, the number of deaths is growing rapidly.

Another explanation which I believe is far more likely is that both the British and Israeli governments are conducting less tests.

This obviously leads to a reduction in the number of new verified cases. It may look good in the Guardian or the Jewish Chronicle’s headlines but unfortunately it doesn’t stop the disease or its lethal impact.

In Israel, mass vaccination was Bibi’s genius political ploy, except that it didn’t work very well (so far). It is more than likely that Trump also gambled on a vaccine being approved ahead of the election. As we know, Pfizer actually announced its ‘success’ very soon after the election. Needless to mention that Boris Johnson shares one or two features with Bibi and Trump.

It is more than likely that in the USA, Israel and Britain, mass vaccination was unleashed as a political tool.

Peculiarly, it is the progressive and leftist crowds who are most enthusiastic about the vaccines delivered to them by the most outlandish right wing political icons of our time.

What is it that drives certain nations to morph into testing grounds with some possible grave implications?

What is it that drives some nations to the vaccine yet pushes others to be vigilant and suspicious?

I will try to address these crucial questions in my next paper.

Header: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (orange), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID. (Photo by: IMAGE POINT FR/NIH/NIAID/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Source: Gilad Atzmon


A Warning for Vaccine-hesitant Truth-seekers: The 0.01% Have It in For You

This article is designed to expose the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the WHO, the CDC, the NIAID, even the Mayo Clinic, etc, etc for their profit-minded, corporation-corrupted pseudoscience, their abandonment of medical ethical principles, their vaccinology-illiteracy and/or their deception concerning the declared pandemic.

There is a new, and particularly nefarious money-making scheme that is described below. It is based on the wide-spread – and FALSE – assumption that the new, fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccines (or any vaccine, for that matter) are effective in both preventing

1) getting infected with the intended virus and also

2) becoming contagious after getting inoculated!

Neither outcome has been proven with the published clinical trials. All of the new vaccines are likely useless on both counts.

In fact, none of the Big Vaccine corporations that are making these potentially dangerous, synthetic genome-modifying vaccines have actually made the claim that their vaccines are effective in preventing infection or contagion, even after getting the required two inoculations – much less the initial shot!

The only claim these billionaire-owned pharmaceutical corporations (most of all of which are members of the World Economic Forum) make is that a certain percentage of vaccinated individuals are capable of developing some uncertain level of serological immunity (ie antibody production).

But it is well-known that intramuscular injection of vaccines are incapable of stimulating cellular/mucosal immunity, which is the other, unmentioned by industry, but most important part of human immunity. Cellular immunity is only possible with sufficient exposure to a natural infectious agent via inhalation of a sizable number of viral- or bacterial-infected droplets,

It also must be emphasized that true “herd immunity” cannot be achieved by vaccinations.

Herd immunity to infectious respiratory diseases can only be achieved by natural exposure to infectious bacterial or viral agents.

Intramuscular vaccinations cannot produce both serological/antibody immunity and cellular/mucosal immunity. Claims by those corporate-controlled entities (such as the WHO, the CDC, the NIAID, the FDA, the AMA, the AAP, the World Economic Forum, Bill Gates, the Mayo Clinic [a WEF partner], etc) that claim that vaccine-achievable herd immunity can be achieved through vaccination campaigns – are liars, dupes or vaccinology-illiterate – or all three.)

Interestingly, the vaccine corporations or the government pharma-co-opted bureaucrats involved in pushing the BIG LIE about vaccine usefulness do not actually make any statements about whether or not these vaccines are capable of developing even partial immunity to any of the common coronavirus mutations that have been found (and then conveniently used as propaganda tools to keep the level of fear about COVID-19 at panic levels).

Shame on the Mayo Clinic for trusting the untrustworthy, profiteering establishment entities of Big Pharma, Big Medicine and Big Media, entities that are telling the Big Lie of “95% (ie, ‘relative’) effectiveness” rates for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines rather that scientifically looking at the only reliable measure of vaccine efficacy: the “actual” or “absolute” effectiveness rate, which is actually 0.8% for both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, neither one of which has yet been proven to be safe or effective long-term.

Sadly, the once medical science-based Mayo Clinic has seemingly joined forces with the Big Pharma-co-opted entities that are connected to the World Economic Forum’s virology-illiterate Bill Gates. The WEF-involvement of so many of America’s profit-oriented medical trade associations, clinics or hospitals – has revealed its blindness and/or ignorance about vaccinology.

These revelations, if true, should provoke serious concern about Mayo’s ineptitude or its willingness to reject traditional medical ethical principles about fully informed consent or its commitment to the Hippocratic Oath.

Read the following article to decide for yourself if people who are vaccine-hesitant should concerned about the Covid Passport plan: Microsoft, Big Tech Coalition Developing Rockefeller-Funded COVID Passports

Source: Gary G. Kohls, MD – LewRockwell

‘No prejudice’: French vaccination strategy chief says EU should ‘consider’ using Russian, Chinese jabs

The EU should consider every COVID-19 vaccine available, Fischer told France’s BFM TV on Friday, adding that “there should be no prejudices regarding the origins of vaccines.” T

he immunology professor and pediatrician said that the only criteria one should use in assessing a jab are its efficacy and safety, and the ease with which it can be delivered to European countries.

“If they show that they’re effective and safe, that [the vaccines] are trustworthy products of good quality, then why not? It is just a matter of fulfilling some basic conditions.”

The researcher was commenting on Hungary’s decision on Friday to approve the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.

Budapest was the first in the EU to issue such an approval, a week after Hungary also became the first EU nation to greenlight Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

That jab has already been used in vaccination campaigns in Russia, as well as other nations, such as Argentina.

Brussels, however, has been reluctant to consider the Russian jab, while giving priority to the US-based giants Pfizer and Moderna and to the UK’s AstraZeneca.

Many European nations, including Germany, have reported shortages in their vaccine supplies and some logistical difficulties when transporting and storing the jabs.

Some vaccine shipments were also delayed, prompting the EU to demand clarification from Pfizer. The bloc has also engaged in a row with the Cambridge-based AstraZeneca over delays to its shipments. The company had agreed to try its best to deliver a large number of doses, but has yet to meet the orders placed by the EU, as well as those of other buyers, such as the UK government.

Russia already filed a request for approval of its vaccine with the EU medicines regulator, the EMA, while its developers have said they are ready to help the bloc to fill its vaccine stocks.

Earlier this month, the EU had said that EMA would consider approving the Sputnik V jab for use by its member states, in an announcement welcomed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed the vaccine’s development.

Sputnik V became the first officially registered vaccine against COVID-19 in the world in August 2020. The vaccine has shown an overall efficacy of 91.4 percent, as well as 100 percent efficacy in preventing severe cases of disease, during the final-stage of trials conducted in Russia.

Since then, it has also been registered in Algeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Serbia and Argentina as well as, most recently, in Hungary and the UAE.

Source: RT

Countries around world tighten borders to keep virus variants out

A number of countries tightened their borders against a surge in variant strains of the deadly coronavirus as the United States on Saturday ordered travelers to wear masks on most public transportation.

With doses of the different COVID-19 shots so far approved for use still in relatively short supply — and mass inoculation programs in their early stages — Britain and the EU have become embroiled in an ugly row over the shots they had been promised by drugmaker AstraZeneca.

The vaccine developed by the British-Swedish firm is only the third to be rolled out in Europe. But the company has said it can only deliver a fraction of the doses promised to the Brussels and London because of production problems.

As the World Health Organization warned against “vaccine nationalism,” both Britain and EU said Saturday they were confident the problems could be resolved.

Nevertheless, tensions on either side of the English Channel showed scant sign of easing.

France’s European affairs minister Clement Beaune warned that it would pose “a problem” if the UK were given preferential treatment.

“If there is an industrial problem, that can happen, people can understand that,” he said in comments scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday.

“But preferential treatment is shown to Britain, that would be a problem.”

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab warned that “the world is watching and it is only through international collaboration that we will beat this pandemic.”

Nevertheless, Raab said he had been “reassured” in talks with EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovkis that Brussels “has no desire to block suppliers fulfilling contracts for vaccine distribution to the UK.”

The AstraZeneca shot has also come under scrutiny as to its effectiveness for elderly people who are more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19.

Germany’s vaccine commission has recommended against using it on older people.

And on Saturday, Health Minister Jens Spahn said the government would no longer give priority to people over 65 when giving out the AstraZeneca shots.

“We’re now going to have to review the order of vaccination,” Spahn said.

Italy has similarly approved the AstraZeneca jab for all adults. But its medicines agency recommended alternatives be given to people aged over 55.

The AIFA agency “authorizes the AstraZeneca vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals over the age of 18, as per European Medicines Agency guidance,” it said.

But it noted “a level of uncertainty” about claims of the jab’s effectiveness in people over the age of 55, because the age group was “poorly represented” in trials.

As the global death toll surged past 2.2 million on Saturday, countries are tightening travel restrictions to try to rein in the spread of new more contagious strains of the novel coronavirus.

From Saturday, Germany banned most travelers from countries hit by new variants and France is to close its borders to non-European Union countries for all except essential travel from Sunday.

In Canada, travelers will have to quarantine in hotels at their own expense and airlines are suspending flights to southern destinations.

And in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping order requiring the wearing of masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19 on virtually every form of public transportation throughout the country.

The order — which extends to travel on airplanes, trains, buses, taxis, ride-shares, subways, ferries and ships — expands on one of the first executive orders signed by President Joe Biden, which required masking for interstate travel as part of a larger strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

A small number of countries however have tentatively started to ease some of their stricter coronavirus restrictions.

In Italy, the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, said they would reopen on Monday after being closed for 88 days — the longest closure since World War II.

The world-famous collections will open their doors to the public from Monday to Saturday, but visitors must pre-book tickets and for specifically timed entry slots.

“The Pope’s Museums await you with pleasure!” a statement said.

In Norway, the government said that a number of restrictions in Oslo and the surrounding region would be lifted next week.

Shops would be able to reopen in the capital and 24 nearby municipalities, from Wednesday, as would restaurants, but a ban on the sale of alcohol would remain in place, the government said.

Source: TOI

Military medics note high effectiveness of using blood plasma of vaccinated people

Research carried out by the Kirov Military Medical Academy shows that treating coronavirus patients with blood plasma provided by vaccinated donors is more efficient than with plasma provided by recovered patients, the Russian Defense Ministry informed on Saturday.

The ministry stated that treatment of COVID-19 patients with plasma provided by vaccinated donors began in Russian military medical institutions since November 2020.

“The first organization that used this method was the Main Military Clinical Burdenko Hospital in Moscow. The Kirov Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg is carrying out research work on estimating the efficiency of using plasma of vaccinated people in treatment of the novel coronavirus. Research has shown a higher virus-neutralizing activity of plasma of vaccinated donors compared to the plasms of recovered patients,” the ministry informed.

The ministry added that people with a high antibody count are being selected to act as donors, which constitutes to about 10% of all vaccinated persons.

In 2020, over 100 liters of plasma provided by vaccinated donors was stored.

In 2021, the ministry plans to store over 120 liters of plasma, the message informs.

Source: TASS

‘I’m the beneficiary,’ Russian billionaire Rotenberg says he’s real owner of large Black Sea property dubbed ‘Putin’s palace’

The businessman gave a short interview to Telegram channel Mash, on Saturday, regarding the construction site in the Krasnodar region, which remains the focus of intense rumors both inside the country and in foreign media.

Asked if he was acknowledging ownership of the site dubbed ‘Putin’s palace’, Rotenberg said: “This will be a secret no more. I am the beneficiary.”

He added that he intends to use the location as an apartment hotel, once it is finished.

“I like the hotel business…and have been involved in it for several years now,” Rotenberg said, adding that he owns several ‘objects’ throughout Russia. He explained that the site in question has a troubled financial history, but he nevertheless acquired it a few years ago, putting faith in its “gorgeous” coastal location, near the resort town of Gelendzhik.

“This project is somewhat scandalous and difficult. But mark my words, in 12 or 18 months I’ll invite you to witness for yourself what beauty it will be,” he told Mash editor-in-chief, Maksim Iksanov, joking that the journalist may get a discount since he already visited the property.

The so-called ‘Putin’s palace’ is located at Cape Idokopas, about 17km southeast from Gelendzhik.

The team of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny last week released a two-hour expose, complete with corruption allegations against Putin, floor plans and computer-generated images purporting to show what the palace is supposed to look like eventually.

The video was touted as displaying the Russian president’s mindset and called on its viewers to take part in anti-government protests.

The Russian president denied owning any of the property featured in Navalny’s video, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded the corruption accusations as “an outstanding myth.”

The film was launched days after Navalny returned to Russia from Germany and was taken into custody, pending a court review of his parole, from a previous embezzlement case.

He had been flown out of the country, last August, after a medical emergency, which he claims happened after a failed assassination attempt by agents of the Russian security service, the FSB. The Russian government denied targeting Navalny and accused him of working with foreign intelligence to discredit Moscow.

Earlier this week, Mash published a report by Iksanov, who gained access to the construction site and showed that it was far from being completed.

The Telegram channel is a popular news outlet, in Russia, boasting almost a million subscribers.

Header: A woman walks along the shore of the Black sea, in the town of Gelendzhik, Russia. © Sputnik / Vitaly Timkiv

Source: RT

WATCH: Riot police crack down on anti-Global Security Bill protesters in Paris

Saturday’s demonstrations are only the latest protests against the security bill, which would fine offenders thousands and possibly land them behind bars for up to a year.

As protesters marched near the Place de la Republique in Paris, police also took to the streets in riot gear, and several clashes between demonstrators and officers took place.

The law in its current form intends to ban the publication of any photo or footage that identified police in any way that was considered ill-intentioned.

Offenders would risk a prison sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of €45,000 ($55,000).

Rallies in Marseille, Paris, Lyon, and other cities descended into violence in December, as protesters launched projectiles at riot police, and vehicles and businesses were vandalized.

In response to the protests, government officials announced they would rewrite Article 24, which takes aim at photos and videos of officers, and find a more balanced approach.

Header: © REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Source: RT

Israel Health Ministry to reconsider quarantine exemption

According to a Channel 12 News report, Israel’s Ministry of Health is expected to consider cancelling the quarantine exemption for residents who have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine as well as those who have recovered from the disease.

According to the report, the Ministry is weighing the move due to the lack of significant decrease in the infection rate and the overwhelming number of hospitalized patients: Both these numbers continue to remain high despite the ongoing lockdown and nationwide vaccination campaign.

Israelis who have received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, as well as those who have previously been infected with the virus and are considered recovered, are currently exempt from being required to self-quarantine following contact with a confirmed virus carrier or upon returning from trips abroad.

However, there is growing fear that these individuals may still carry the virus in their respiratory systems, despite not testing positive for it, and end up infecting others in the process.

The Health Ministry is concerned about all possible sources of infections and is therefore expected to hold a discussion in the coming days regarding whether or not to cancel the quarantine exemption for these groups.

Last week, the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate published a warning that combining mass vaccination with a spike in infections could lead to a strain of COVID-19 that will resist the vaccines currently in use.

The report recommended requiring anyone landing in Israel to quarantine, even if they have recovered from coronavirus or received the vaccine.

Source: Arutz Sheva