Russia won’t extend gas transit deal – Ukraine

Speaking to Reuters, Yury Vitrenko said that there is “not even a hint” of negotiations on a new contract.

“We are discussing it with the Americans and the Germans that all of us would like the transit to continue, but the Russians are reluctant to start these discussions,” he said.

Transiting gas from Russia to Europe is an integral part of Ukraine’s economy, and the country receives billions of dollars annually from Russian energy giant Gazprom for the use of its aging facilities, which were constructed by Moscow during the Soviet period.

Following the completion of Nord Stream 2, a controversial gas pipeline that connects Russia to Germany without passing through any third country, many in Kiev now believe the country’s economy is under threat, as Ukrainian pipes become less critical for the European grid.

Earlier this year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Nord Stream 2 would “disconnect Ukraine from gas supplies,” which in turn would cost Ukraine “at least $3 billion a year.”

“We will have nothing to pay the Ukrainian Army,” he told a delegation from the US Congress.

The IMF predicted the loss to be somewhat smaller but still hugely significant. According to the international financial institution, Ukraine has received an average of slightly more than $2.5 billion per year just from Russian gas transit. This is estimated to drop to $1.2 billion.

As things stand, Nord Stream 2 is completed but is not yet certified, meaning that it is not yet operating.

On November 16, the regulator in Berlin suspended the certification of the controversial project, insisting that Nord Stream 2 AG create a German subsidiary. Once the formalities are completed, it could be turned on next year.

According to Vitrenko, the regulator has granted a Ukrainian request to be included as part of the certification process.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Ukraine could not handle any boost in gas supplies, noting that the country’s gas transport system might “burst” due to an increase in pressure because the infrastructure has “not been repaired for decades.”

Source: RT

Germany gives life sentence to ISIS member over Yazidi genocide

A German court sentenced an ex-Islamic State member to life in prison on Tuesday for participating in genocide and crimes against humanity as part of the the mass murder of the Yazidis in Iraq.

The court’s ruling was the first genocide verdict handed down to a member of the Islamic State, which controlled large sections of Iraq and Syria before being defeated by a US-led offensive in 2019, Reuters reported.

The Frankfurt court convicted Iraqi citizen Taha al-Jumailly, 29, of being involved in the killing of over 3,000 Yazidis and the enslavement of 7,000 Yazidi girls and women by the Islamic State in 2014 and 2015.

The judge said that the conviction included the killing of a five-year old girl that al-Jumailly had made a slave and chained to a window, where the girl died of heat exposure.

The defendant was arrested in 2019 in Greece where he was extradited to Germany to face charges.

Family members of murdered Yazidis were plaintiffs for the prosecution along with Al-Jumailly’s German wife, who was identified by the court as Jennifer W.

In October, she received a 10 year jail sentence for her role in enslaving the Yazidi girl and her mother.

The Islamic State displaced nearly the entire population of 550,000 Yazidis in Iraq and Syria during its campaign of genocide and terror.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Israeli PM launches Israel’s Pandemic Information Center on Twitter

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has launched a Twitter account, @PandemicinfoIL, that will serve as a means of communicating information, insights and lessons from Israel’s efforts to combat COVID-19 to the global community.

The Israel Pandemic Information Center (IPIC) is dedicated to sharing information provided by Israel’s Ministry of Health, as well as on other matters of international interest in the areas of health, education, economy, information, logistics, leadership and more.

IPIC will provide bite-size content that touches on main areas of interest as raised by world leaders to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Such information will include: things to take into account when considering restrictions, what to weigh when addressing dilemmas, insights from Israel’s vaccine campaign and other insights.

“The world has shown great interest in Israel’s lessons and experiences in combating COVID-19, and Israel is eager to share our knowhow with the world,” Bennett said.

“Together, the global community has a greater chance of combating COVID than we would if we were to take it on alone.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Why Did Switzerland Vote For Vaccine Passports?

The Swiss have voted to keep vaccine passports by a clear majority.

I live in Switzerland (but cannot vote), and in this essay I’ll present some analysis of why this outcome may have occurred.

Firstly, what was the vote actually about?

It was a referendum on whether to keep the COVID law, which authorised (among other things) the implementation of the vaccine passport and contact tracing systems.

As such, although passports are effectively a form of coercion, this wasn’t directly a vote on mandatory vaccination. There were two sides: ‘No’, meaning scrap the law and end the passports, and ‘Yes’, meaning keep it.

That’s all in theory. In reality, of course, the vote is already being used by politicians to argue for lockdowns for the unvaccinated (about one third of the population).

So – what went wrong for the ‘No’ side? I believe there were at least three factors that fed into each other:

  1. Unlike the British Government, the Swiss government doesn’t release the core data you would need to argue against the vaccine passport policies.
  2. For the second time in a row, the ‘No’ campaign chose its messaging very poorly. The campaign they ran was unconvincing.
  3. Like elsewhere, the news is dominated by the Government’s own narrative-building efforts and uncritically accepted reports – even nonsensical claims. In particular, public health officials have been spreading misinformation by convincing people the unvaccinated are unsafe to be around even if you’re vaccinated (which makes no sense if you also believe the vaccines are highly effective).

I will analyze each factor below.

Despite this, we should recognize the possibility that how people voted had nothing to do with any campaigns or policies, but simply reflects their pre-existing vaccination decisions. As we can safely assume almost nobody voted ‘Yes’ while also choosing to be unvaccinated (as this would simply be a vote to impose expensive and awkward restrictions on themselves indefinitely), we must also assume, given the results, that almost everyone who chose to take the vaccine also chooses to try and force other people to take it.

The psychology of this is probably core to the state of the world right now and deserves a much closer look. However, today I’ll make the simplifying assumption that campaigns and arguments do have at least some impact and analyze it through that lens.

Unavailable data

The simplest and most ideologically neutral arguments against vaccine passports is that they are:

  1. Illogical, because they imply the vaccinated have to be protected from the unvaccinated, which suggests the vaccines do little to suppress infection which in turn suggests there’s little point in protecting the vaccinated from the unvaccinated.
  2. Ineffective, because COVID vaccines aren’t sterilizing so they allow infectious vaccinated people to wander around spreading infection, quite possibly without realising it. Thus they won’t impact case numbers and this seems to be born out by case curves.
  3. A form of mandate, which is immoral because you’re forcing people to take a substance they don’t need/think could be unsafe, and they might be right.

To prove (2) you need to have data on the rate of infection among the vaccinated.

In England the population can not only see this data, it’s also made available in both the Government’s preferred “adjusted” form and also in its pre-adjusted form. The UKHSA explains the adjustments, the data is age stratified, can be tracked over time and we can even watch the public arguments between different government agencies as they debate how that data should be presented and used. Thus you can point at it and show that the vaccinated get COVID and spread it, and show that the claims of efficacy rely on huge statistical “adjustments” combined with assumptions about group psychology, as the raw data actually shows negative effectiveness.

In Switzerland, like in most of the world, none of this has happened because the Government’s COVID dashboard simply doesn’t provide data on vaccination rates for anything except hospitalisations and deaths. End of story.

Unless you’re willing to use foreign data to argue against a local policy, the matter being voted on simply could not be opposed using a data-backed argument of any kind. Of course, it couldn’t be supported with data either, but people remember the claims that vaccines are highly effective against infection.

To prove (3) you would need reliable data on vaccine injuries. No such data exists.

Although the Swiss Government does collect reports of adverse events, these data suffer from the same problems as the same data in other countries, namely, rampant under-reporting and a steadfast refusal by the medical establishment to take the reports seriously. My fiancé has several friends who have been injured by the vaccines here (Moderna seems to be quite aggressive compared to AstraZeneca – I don’t know anyone in the UK reporting injuries). None of them has received any kind of help from the medical system. One went to a doctor and was surprised when the doctor said she had the exact same type of problem (missing periods); the advice was simply to go home and wait to see if it got better on its own. That was months ago but it never did get better. Meanwhile several friends of mine reported that the vaccines made them so sick they were confined to bed for a day each time they got the jab. Again, no reports were filed at any point. This experience aligns with this series of interviews with hospital workers, where several nurses assert that doctors are systematically discounting any possible connection between vaccination and illness, even when patients say directly their problems started right after vaccination. This sort of thing is not exactly confidence-building in the quality of the safety data.

Regardless, for whatever reason – perhaps their ads would be blocked if they raised it – the ‘No’ campaign stayed away from the topic of safety and personal choice.

Bad messaging

Just like the first time the Swiss voted on COVID measures, the ‘No’ campaign was primarily run by a group called the Friends of the Constitution. As the name implies this is not actually a dedicated anti-COVID campaign group and I’ve felt both times that the campaigns have been quasi-hijacked by this group’s pre-existing agendas and interests.

The messaging by ‘No’ boiled down to three points:

  1. COVID measures are mass surveillance.
  2. Say no to divisions in society.
  3. Say no to endless measures.

Of these points, really only the third feels like it has any force, and it’s primarily a vague assertion about what the Government might do in future. While I personally believe endless measures are pretty much where we’re at now already, a lot of people still think all this has some sort of near-term end date. And while the passports have created very large and obvious divisions in society, these are – from the perspective of the vaccinated – a division by choice, one that the “divided” could choose to end by getting the jab. And because the shots are free and the Government/media more or less refuses to acknowledge the possibility that a negative cost:benefit ratio might exist for anyone, the vaccinated can see no logical reason why anyone would refuse. So while this language tries to make it sound like other kinds of within-living-memory social division (e.g. racism), it’s not. It’s a unique thing more akin to religious conflicts than anything else.

The message about mass surveillance is especially problematic. The difficulties with logic and honesty during COVID times are not entirely restricted to the public health world. There are two parts to this: passports and contact tracing.

The passport system is not actually a form of mass surveillance with the current infrastructure, and contact tracing isn’t being done at the moment, hasn’t been for some time, and when it was it was done using local data collection that was only provided to the Government if a case was actually detected. Moreover, the claim that this is all about mass surveillance is effectively a claim it’s not about fighting COVID.

That’s a very serious allegation but isn’t made with any accompanying evidence to prove it, ignores that the infrastructure built so far actually works hard not to engage in mass surveillance, and, finally, ignores the fact that the Government already has mass surveillance infrastructures anyway.

Let me flesh out the claim I just made about vaccine passports, as it’s probably not obvious why I think that.

The QR codes are large and high density because they contain all the data of the certificate itself, meaning that the apps that read them don’t have to contact any remote server to verify the certificate.

Moreover, the apps are open source, no data is saved locally, all the technical documentation is available, it is distributed also outside of the app store (on Android), and you could even make your own version of the verifier app if for some reason you suspect the version being distributed through the app stores doesn’t match the code being made available.

But if that was happening, it would be prima facie evidence of a conspiracy so at that point you could just reveal it. NB: The infrastructure doesn’t have to be designed this way, yet it is.

So this argument has to boil down to “but it could be changed in future”. Yes, it could, but that would get noticed and would then probably trigger another referendum in which mass surveillance would actually be the primary topic – and also the ‘No’ campaign wasn’t making that claim: it was saying these systems are already mass surveillance.

It would be especially difficult to convert passports into mass surveillance because the software engineers behind the scheme already proved no such surveillance is required for the scheme to ‘work’, using whatever public health definition of work they think they’re achieving.

Moreover, such an infrastructure could just as easily be put into place using cell tower records and banking systems, and in fact this has already been done a long time ago. Governments around the world routinely track their citizens in all sorts of ways, including at scale. Showing us how that infrastructure worked is how Edward Snowden ended up in Russia. They really don’t need vaccine passports on top of that.

A vaccine passport system is an especially illogical form of mass surveillance because – even if it did work the way the campaigners implied – all it would tell governments is what bars, restaurants and events people happen to visit, which is not especially important information, and compliance is already quite low so they wouldn’t even get reliable records of that either.

My guess is I get checked about half the time I go out. The rest of the time the business owners don’t bother asking.

Overall, I can’t shake the feeling the campaign group behind ‘No’ might contain a lot of people for whom privacy and surveillance are just their thing, and they came to see COVID as a way to raise funds on which their preferred messaging and campaigning could ride coat-tails. The end result has been an ineffective and unconvincing campaign even to the people it should strongly appeal to. And it didn’t convert anyone who has already taken a vaccine.

Lack of reliable news

The U.K. is a little unusual in that someone’s launched a news site that challenges the public health establishment (this one). I’m often reminded of the problems conventional journalism has when British friends send me links to BBC News stories, like the story they published about the Swiss referendum by Imogen Foulkes.

She starts by presenting a cartoon made by one guy, posted on one billboard in one station, specifically in order to troll a set of anti-mandate protestors, as an example of “Swiss yes campaign posters”. In reality, there wasn’t a Swiss ‘Yes’ campaign, and the report goes downhill from there. A few paragraphs later, she is blaming large data errors in the BBC’s graph of cases on Switzerland, saying: “Countries do not always release figures every day, which may explain some of the sharp changes in the trendlines.” In fact, the Swiss Government does release data every day and its dashboard shows no such data errors – the flaws were introduced by the BBC or the university it’s sourcing this information from. Foulkes quotes a 23 year-old who thinks the vaccine passport means “I can know everyone in here is safe, because they are all vaccinated, tested, or recovered” without pointing out that this is wrong, then she tries to ‘fact check’ a student who correctly points out she’s at little risk of COVID by claiming she might get “serious and long term” health consequences from an infection. Actually less than ~2.5% of people still report any symptoms of Long COVID 12 weeks after infection and those seem to mostly be psycho-somatic. COVID especially isn’t serious for young students and it’s misinformation to claim otherwise – but Foulkes isn’t done! She just keeps going and claims there aren’t enough hospital beds or staff in Switzerland, although the Government’s own statistics show that the country has unusually large capacity margins, with ICU usage usually being below 80% of capacity (most countries run at more like 90-95% utilization), which has at any rate fallen by half compared to what it was at the start of the pandemic – and astoundingly the article just keeps getting more and more deceptive. That was by no means a complete fact check. This is one of the reasons the reputation of ‘fact checkers’ is circling the drain: if they actually cared about misinformation, keeping up with the BBC’s output alone would consume all their time.

The situation worldwide is hardly any better. People who may have doubts about the integrity of public health narratives in the U.S. are more or less forced to rely on a handful of websites – such as the Brownstone Institute – and a couple of bloggers:

Alex Berenson, an ex-NYT journalist, and El Gato Malo, a firebrand who mixes COVID analysis with outspoken political advocacy while also pretending to be a cat (many of his articles are quite good, but needless to say, quirky). The U.S. CDC doesn’t release information about vaccine effectiveness in anything close to a useful form, and, bizarrely, actually has commercial conflicts of interest because it turns out to be a holder of patents on vaccine technology, which it licenses for profit to the very same pharma companies the U.S. Government is supposed to be regulating.

Switzerland sits somewhere in the middle. It does have conventional media outlets that are sometimes public-health-skeptical, but they are ultimately the work of conventional journalists and thus do very little original research, preferring to focus on social commentary. For example, they generally won’t search the scientific literature or raw data to double check arguments made by the public health agency, as happens often on this site. For sceptical news there is the Swiss Policy Research site, which has published some good articles, and in particular documented a long litany of false claims and incorrect statistics published by Swiss media. There is also Corona Transition, which functions more like the Daily Sceptic. Nonetheless, being brand new sites with few resources, all such new outlets struggle to get the same level of readership as existing newspapers and TV stations.

So the lack of detailed data, news no more reliable than anywhere else and a very high level of trust in government, means the quality of debate about public health measures is quite low. It’s thus easier for the Government to pass off various unfounded assertions as ‘facts’.


Despite the above, there are some reasons to be positive. The percentage of the population that voted against the measures is very large, even if not a majority. In no way can it be said this is a fringe concern. Although there was no official ‘Yes’ campaign, in reality the might of the entire establishment, including the Government, media, academia, the civil service and the medical community, have pretty much all been doing an endless ‘Yes’ campaign for the last two years – and still around 40% of the people who voted rejected their arguments.

Additionally, from reading comments and talking to people, a major motivation for those who voted ‘Yes’ was the belief that they faced a choice between vaccine passports or more lockdowns. Thus the vote can also be interpreted, if you wish, as a vote against lockdowns.

Source: Mike Hearn – Daily Sceptic

Header: Breitling: Top Time – Peter Tarka – Behance

New Omicron variant could spell end for COVID-19 pandemic – top Russian scientist

In an interview published on Monday in Moscow tabloid KP, Anatoly Altshtein, a virologist at the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which pioneered Russia’s Sputnik V jab, said that there it is still not clear how deadly or infectious the new Omicron variant might be.

According to him, even if it does spread faster than its predecessor, known as Delta, it could take months to become the predominant form of the virus.

Even if that happens, he said, it’s not clear that Omicron means higher death tolls than at present.

“Right now there are reasons to think that the Omicron variant could be less pathogenic,” he went on, meaning less able to cause harmful infection.

Explaining the science behind the hypothesis, Altshtein said that

“… we already see Omicron has many mutations, more than Delta. More than thirty-thousand in a single gene of its spike protein. This is too many, and it means the virus has an unstable genome. As a rule, this sort of infectious agent becomes less dangerous, because evolutionarily, an overwhelming number of mutations leads to a weakening of the virus’s ability to cause disease.”

According to the professor, if this rule holds true, then Omicron would be fatal in only a small fraction of cases, and would become like other common seasonal infections.

He stressed that we still understand little about the new variant, discovered by South African scientists last week, and that it was best to be cautious while its characteristics are researched.

Some nations, including Japan and Israel, have announced they are banning all foreign travelers.

“We shouldn’t be afraid that the Omicron variant is spreading widely,” said Professor Altshtein, “but that it could turn out to be the most pathogenic variant, making infection worse.”

Russia has registered a record number of COVID-19 deaths almost every day for several weeks, as the country grapples with a sharp rise in cases.

The government has said that the rising mortality rate is due to the fact only around 40% of the population has been vaccinated, urging citizens to sign up for jabs.

The country’s parliament is now considering proposals to mandate proof of vaccination for those using public transport, eating in restaurants and cafes or attending mass events nationwide.

Source: RT

Header: UTOPIA – Luke Nugent – Behance

Biden & Fauci have vocal problem with Omicron

During a Monday press conference, Biden urged calm in the face of the latest coronavirus variant, announced last week by the World Health Organization (WHO).

During his address, Biden defended the travel restrictions placed on multiple African countries and urged Americans to get vaccinated and then subsequently get booster shots to protect from Omicron, which health experts are still gathering data on.

Many noticed during Biden’s talk, however, that he repeatedly pronounced Omicron as ‘Omnicron’.

“It’s called the Omnicron,” he said, going on to repeat the mistake multiple times. Though he had difficulty pronouncing the actual name, Biden said the variant was a “cause for concern,” but not for panic, among the American people.

Fauci, who Biden said led his COVID briefing, would repeat the president’s mistake, saying, “even before Omnicron came in, we had a situation where we’ll be able to test,” he said at one point in response to a reporter’s question.

Many have pointed out Biden’s repeated mispronunciations as he addressed the variant, with many pointing out how easy the mistake is, but noting the oddness as Biden has been briefed more than most on the subject.

In multiple tweets from Biden’s official account during his speech, Omicron was referenced and correctly spelled multiple times.

Omicron is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet.

The variant that has taken the name has been identified in multiple African countries, as well as nations such as the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, and others.

Source: RT

French pundit Eric Zemmour announces presidential bid

French political commentator and former journalist Eric Zemmour has confirmed he will run in the presidential election next year.

“It is time to reform and save France. This is why I have decided to run for President,” Zemmour said as he officially announced his presidential bid in a video message on YouTube, which was also broadcast on French TV.

He is expected to hold his first official campaign meeting in Paris on Sunday, 5 December.

The 63-year-old Zemmour is known for his tough approach to issues such as Islam and immigration and has been nicknamed “the French Trump.”

Unlike his more moderate colleague in the right-wing camp, Marine Le Pen, Zemmour tends to view things in black or white, so to speak, once even reportedly suggesting that the French Muslim community should choose between Islam or France.

The traditional right-wing The Republicans (Les Republicains) are due to announce their candidate at a congress on 4 December.

The incumbent French President, Emmanuel Macron, is yet to announce his candidacy, however, he is expected to do so in early January.


Russia will soon have new hypersonic missile with maximum speed of Mach 9

Vladimir Putin said that the hypersonic weapon with maximum speed of Mach 9 will appear in Russia in the near future.

Moscow is developing hypersonic weapons in response to NATO actions that a pose threat to Russia, President Vladimir Putin said.

“Things have come to the point that anti-missile defenсe systems are deployed in Poland and Romania, and the launchers that are there, Mk-41, can also be equipped with Tomahawk strike systems. But this also creates threats for us. Well, this is the obvious fact, the obvious thing.”

“Despite all of our requests not to do this, what has happened? What we see now. In response, we have been forced, I want to emphasise this, we have been forced to start developing hypersonic weapons. This is our response.” Putin said.


Countering Europeans, Iran makes maximalist demands as Vienna nuclear talks open

Iran struck a maximalist tone Tuesday after just one day of restarted talks in Vienna over its tattered nuclear deal, suggesting everything discussed in previous rounds of diplomacy could be renegotiated.

Iranian state media reported the comments by Ali Bagheri, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, and Mohammad Eslami, the country’s civilian nuclear chief.

It remained unclear, however, whether this represented an opening gambit by Iran’s new hardline president or signaled serious trouble for those hoping to restore the 2015 deal that saw Tehran strictly limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The United States left the deal under then-US president Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran in 2018.

Since the deal’s collapse, Iran now enriches small amounts of uranium up to 60% purity — a short step from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Iran also spins advanced centrifuges barred by the accord, and its uranium stockpile now far exceeds the accord’s limits.

US President Joe Biden has said America is willing to re-enter the deal, though the negotiations continue with US officials not in the room as in previous rounds of talks since Washington’s withdrawal.

Speaking to Iranian state television, Bagheri referred to the previous rounds of talks only as a “draft.”

“Drafts are subject to negotiation. Therefore nothing is agreed on unless everything has been agreed on,” he said.

“On that basis, all discussions that took place in the six rounds are summarized and are subject to negotiations. This was admitted by all parties in today’s meeting as well.”

That directly contradicted comments Monday by the European Union diplomat leading the talks.

“The Iranian delegation represents a new administration in Tehran with new understandable political sensibilities, but they have accepted that the work done over the six first rounds is a good basis to build our work ahead, so no point in going back,” Enrique Mora said then.

Another state TV segment saw Bagheri in Vienna also saying Iran demanded a “guarantee by American not to impose new sanctions” or not re-impose previously lifted sanctions.

Eslami, speaking to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, reiterated that demand.

“The talks (in Vienna) are about return of the US to the deal and they have to lift all sanctions and this should be in practice and verifiable,” he said. He did not elaborate.

Talks in Vienna resumed Monday after an over five-month hiatus as hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took power. Raisi, a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, campaigned on getting sanctions lifted. However, fellow hard-liners within Iran’s theocracy long have criticized the nuclear deal as giving too much away to the West.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s top representative to the talks, tweeted Tuesday that the resumption of negotiations was “quite successful.”

“Participants decided to continue without delay the drafting process in two working groups – on sanctions lifting and nuclear issues,” he wrote.

“This work starts immediately.”

Israel, Iran’s regional, nuclear-armed rival, kept up its own pressure amid the negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in a video address delivered to nations negotiating in Vienna, warned that he saw Iran trying to “end sanctions in exchange for almost nothing.”

“Iran deserves no rewards, no bargain deals, and no sanctions relief in return for their brutality,” Bennett said in the video that he later posted to Twitter.

“I call upon our allies around the world: Do not give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail.”

Iran maintains its atomic program is peaceful. However, US intelligence agencies and international inspectors say Iran had an organized nuclear weapons program up until 2003. Nonproliferation experts fear the brinkmanship could push Tehran toward even more extreme measures to try to force the West to lift sanctions.

Making matters more difficult, United Nations nuclear inspectors remain unable to fully monitor Iran’s program after Tehran limited their access. A trip to Iran last week by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, failed to make any progress on that issue.

Source: Nasser Karimi – TOI

Newest COVID variant slips into Delta-freed Japan

The infection was detected in a man in his 30s, who has arrived from Namibia, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said, as quoted by Reuters.

Matsuno said the patient is staying in a medical facility. He declined to name the person’s nationality.

The Japan Times cited a government source as saying that the patient is a Namibian diplomat who tested positive for COVID-19 at Narita Airport near Tokyo after arriving there on Sunday.

Japan closed borders to all foreign travelers on Tuesday in an effort to prevent them from spreading the Omicron variant that scientists believe may potentially be more contagious and vaccine-resistant than previously known variants, such as Delta.

Omicron was first recorded in Botswana this month and designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization on Friday.

The new strain has spread across southern Africa and has since reached Europe, North America and Australia.

Tokyo previously managed to drastically reduce the daily caseload of the Delta variant by mid-November due to its strict COVID rules and a high vaccination rate.

Source: RT

Barbados ditches the Queen – and it’s China’s fault?

This week is a significant one for Barbados as it removes Britain’s monarch as its head of state, having made the decision to become a republic.

The Caribbean island nation was initially a creation of the British Empire and was settled as early as the 1600s. The often-unspoken part of its history is, of course, that it was built up as a slave state to serve its colonial overlord.

The slaves often rebelled against colonial rule, with very bloody results, and the island eventually gained its sovereign independence from the Empire in 1966, when it became a constitutional monarchy.

The decision to now move a step further and cut ties with the royal family has stirred controversy in Britain, where a scapegoat has been found for this decision: China.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat claimed Beijing had sought to undermine Britain’s status in the Caribbean, and this narrative was continued in a Telegraph piece that described how China’s billions were buying up the Commonwealth.

The inference is clear – Chinese influence is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for Barbados’ decision.

It also seemed to mirror the theme of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s new fund specifically aimed at the Caribbean. Truss has vowed to “bring nations back into the orbit of free market democracies” – or, in other words, hegemony.

The truth is that China is not responsible for Barbados scrapping the British monarchy at all. It is entirely possible that it has never dawned on many in Britain that perhaps Barbados just doesn’t like the country that openly enslaved and exploited it.

This idea has passed by those of the neo-Britannia, neo-imperialist mindset in Westminster, who actively seem to believe that the UK is, as Barbados’ former colonial master, a righteous saviour against predatory ‘big bad China’.

This encapsulates the view of the former Empire as a whole – that it was not something aggressive, exploitative, or brutal, but was acting out of moral altruism and doing the countries it colonised a favour.

The UK never had to face any accountability for its crimes precisely because it came on the “right side of history,” and it has used its victories, particularly over Germany, to conjure the narrative that it was always the righteous nation fighting in a war of good against evil.

This in turn contributed to the broader spectrum of Anglophone exceptionalism, as seen in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

It leaves London without any self-awareness regarding how its legacy is actually viewed in its former – non-white – colonial dominions, and it becomes very difficult for it to ever to reason why a nation like Barbados would dream of cutting off the British monarchy.

The logical conclusion, then, is that foul actors must surely be at play.

Yet this also tells a story of how Britain is not psychologically coping with its own relative decline in a changing world, still perceiving itself as a ‘great power’ and resisting any shifts away from it, even if in practice it is simply the United States’ water carrier.

The spew of articles and commentary shows that Britain views Barbados not as a sovereign country, but as somewhere that is in its sphere of influence.

Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley recently openly criticised the BBC for saying the country was in “America’s back yard,” as if it had no standing other than to be dominated by English-speaking nations.

This speaks to the truth of Brexit, too – the idea of a global Britain and the UK as an Indo-Pacific power, with the latter at least amounting to a complete denial of reality.

As a result, when it is displayed – as it is in the Telegraph’s article – that China has an increasingly strong economic relationship with Barbados, it is rejected as something illegitimate and an act of aggression or predatory behaviour.

And with this, as Truss’s new fund shows, comes the far-fetched idea that Britain has to compete with Beijing, despite it being completely unrealistic. Hence the colonial mentality – that Barbados needs the ‘help’ of altruistic Britain to make the right choices because it can’t be trusted to do so itself.

This example is a perfect demonstration of how the rise of China is challenging and wounding the British psyche.

The British Empire is history, yet it continues to live on in the minds of policymakers like Truss, who appears to be preaching a variety of ‘Make Britain Great Again’.

China is seen as a threat not just to the standing of the UK, but to the Anglosphere domination of the world, which is underpinned by American hegemony.

The idea that a non-English speaking, communist Asian country could become a major force in world affairs is horrifying to the propagators of the capitalist Anglophone Empire.

Yet the reality is Britain’s attempt to fight back via Truss’s fund is built on sand, pure rhetoric, and a simple unwillingness to accept reality. The £9-billion-a-year fund was described as “peanuts” by Ranil Dissanayake of the Center for Global Development think tank, and as I wrote on Twitter, contemporary Britain has failed even to build a high-speed railway from London to Leeds. How can it possibly strive to compete with the Belt and Road Initiative?

Barbados is not falling into a new trap of Chinese hegemony, but shifting away from centuries of British influence which have defined its entire existence.

The UK has long refused to make amends or even acknowledge its wrongdoings on building a country solely upon slavery.

Predictably, though, the British media coverage doesn’t cover this angle, focusing instead on how China is apparently a malign presence for building roads, sewers, and selling them buses.

Source: Tom Fowdy – RT

Barbados declared a republic, leaving behind history of British colonialism, slavery

Fireworks filled the sky over Barbados on Tuesday as the Caribbean island nation declared itself the world’s newest republic, lowering Queen Elizabeth’s flag as it severed colonial-era ties to the British throne to the sound of jubilant gun salutes.

Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage,” Dame Sandra Mason said in her inauguration speech as the first president of the country, recognizing the “complex, fractured and turbulent world” it would need to navigate.

“Our country must dream big dreams and fight to realize them,” the former governor-general told those gathered for the ceremony, including Britain’s Prince Charles.

The new era for the nation of 285,000 ends Britain’s centuries of influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834.

Addressing the matter during the handover, Charles acknowledged the mark slavery had left on the two countries.

“From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” he told the crowd.

A long-running pandemic curfew was suspended to allow Barbadians to enjoy festivities, which included projections at various points across the country and large fireworks displays timed to mark the historic transition.

The “Pride of Nationhood” ceremony itself was closed to the wider public but Barbados’ most famous citizen, the singer Rihanna, took place alongside top officials for the event, complete with military parades, a mounted guard of honor and gun salutes.

One of the first acts of the prime minister of the new republic was to declare Rihanna a National Hero of Barbados: “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the international celebrity.

Barbados, famous for its idyllic beaches and love of cricket, won independence from Britain in 1966.

In October, it elected Mason its first president, one year after Mottley declared the country would “fully” leave behind its colonial past.

Relying on tourism

Some Barbadians argue there are more pressing national issues than replacing the queen, including economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has exposed overreliance on tourism — which, ironically, is dependent on British visitors.

Unemployment is at nearly 16 percent, up from 9% in recent years.

“I know it is something that we were going towards for a very long time, but I think it came at a time which is not necessarily the best time considering our economic situation and the COVID situation,” said 27-year-old office manager Nikita Stuart.

For young activists such as Firhaana Bulbulia, founder of the Barbados Muslim Association, British colonialism and slavery lie behind the island’s modern inequalities.

“The wealth gap, the ability to own land, and even access to loans from banks all have a lot to do with structures built out of being ruled by Britain,” Bulbulia, 26, said.

For many Barbadians, replacing the queen is just catching up with how the nation has felt for many years.

“I remember in the old days we would be really excited about the queen and Prince Charles and Princess Diana and royal weddings,” Anastasia Smith, a 61-year-old nurse, told AFP. “But I don’t know if we ever quite saw them as our royal family. Now, everybody is talking about a republic. I’m not sure that anything about my life is going to change. But I think we’re doing the right thing and it’s a proud moment for Barbados.”

Buoyed by Black Lives Matter movements across the world, local activists last year successfully advocated for the removal of a statue of the British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson that stood in National Heroes Square for two centuries.

And the end of the queen’s reign is seen by some as a necessary step towards financial reparations to address the historic consequences of the use of slaves brought from Africa to work on sugar plantations.

Charles’ visit to Barbados was clouded at the last minute by another race row over alleged comments about his grandson.

His youngest son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan – who has a black mother and a white father – have said an unnamed royal asked how dark their unborn first child’s skin would be.

A new book reportedly claimed Charles was responsible, which his spokesman dismissed as “fiction and not worth further comment.”

Source: Kareem Smith – TOI

Israel vaccinating kids 5-11 faster than it did those aged 12-15

A week after Israel began administering coronavirus vaccines to children ages 5-11, health providers have been inoculating them at a faster clip than when shots were rolled out for kids between 12 and 15 years old, figures released Monday showed.

At Maccabi Healthcare Services, the percentage of young kids who received a COVID-19 shot in the past week was more than double that for children 12-15 in the week after vaccines were made available to them in June, while at Clalit Health Services, the rate was over four times as high, according to the statistics cited by Channel 12 news.

The Leumit and Meuhedet health maintenance organizations (HMOs) reported figures that were two-and-a-half to nearly four times higher, respectively, than earlier this year.

The figures from Maccabi showed that 8.8 percent of children between 5 and 11 that are insured by the HMO got a shot in the first week they were available, versus 3.3% for kids between 12 and 15.

No percentages were provided for the other three HMOs, which only reported the total number of children in the respective age groups who received a vaccine in the week after the shots were first offered to them.

Overall, 3.3% of kids 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine shot, according to the latest Health Ministry figures.

Among children between 12 and 15, 58.6% have received at least one shot and 47.7% have gotten two doses.

As the campaign to vaccine children has taken off, leading officials associated with it have been subject to threats, most notably Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of public health services at the Health Ministry, who has been provided by police with a full-time security detail.

Another leader of the Health Ministry’s campaign to inoculate young kids said Monday that she has been receiving death threats and vitriol, some of which have been sent to her personal phone via the WhatsApp messaging app.

Dr. Lior Hecht, a pediatrician at Maccabi, told Channel 12 that she joined the campaign in order to battle “fake news” and to provide parents with “credible, verified information” about the vaccine.

“There have been explicit threats to murder,” she said, adding that police were investigating the matter.

Hecht said that she has been called a “child killer” and compared to the Nazis, and that her children have also been threatened indirectly.

“Your children will also suffer and you will have blood on your hands and your children’s hands. May your children be vaccinated and die,” she quoted one such message as saying.

Hecht said the Health Ministry offered to provide her with a bodyguard, but she turned down the offer, saying the threat level to her was low.

Source: TOI

The New African Virus Mutation

There are no variants.

Because there is no virus. SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t exist. I’ve spent the past year and a half proving that. [0]

But fantasies do exist. So do covert ops with intentions to deceive.

Thus, the “scientific world” is agog over the new South African variant, named B11529 (aka Omicron, Botswana). Woo. The ghost is coming out of the closet. Beware. COVID cases are rising…

“We don’t know whether the vaccine will be effective in the face of the new variant. New lockdowns may be necessary. Travel restrictions are coming. Batten down the hatches.”

I mean, really.

As you know, for the past few months stories in the press have been claiming the vaccine-conferred immunity is sinking like a stone. This story is absurd because, again, there is no virus. So there was no conferred immunity to begin with. But anyway, that’s the story that’s been circulating. So NOW…

“It turns out one major reason for the diminished effectiveness of the vaccine is…

“The NEW VARIANT. The South African B11529.”

Uh-huh. “The vaccine is having a tough time preventing infection caused by the new variant. We may need to enforce boosters every three months…”

Keep the fear going. Push harder for the vaccine. Explain away its failures. Fabricate rising case numbers, blaming them on the new variant. Institute heavy new lockdowns.

“The South African variant is deadlier than the Delta, which is deadlier than the original.”

And none of the three exists.

What does exist is fantasy, piled higher and deeper and thicker.

The variant is Fauci. The variant is Bill Gates. The variant is CDC/WHO. The variant is the World Economic Forum. And the Chinese regime. And presidents and governors. And the mainstream press.

And don’t forget this. Vaccine injuries and deaths have been escalating all over the world. In the US alone, reported injuries have broken above 600,000 [1]. As I’ve mentioned, the well-known Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare study [2] concluded that, to obtain a true number of injuries, multiply the reported figure by 100.

Something is needed to explain all these injuries and deaths. That is, to lie about them.

And right on time, here comes the new variant.

“These people who seem to be injured by the vaccine are really keeling over from the original virus, the Delta, and woo, the South African B11529.”

Also: Recently, we’ve seen a spate of press stories with the theme—“scientists are mystified by the low COVID case numbers in Africa, where the vaccination rates are very low.” [3] Boom. That story is now gone. Wiped out. Now it’s THE WORLD IS BEING ATTACKED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN B111529 VARIANT.

Here is one of my articles covering the non-existence of SARS-CoV-2:

—Dr. Andrew Kaufman refutes “isolation” of SARS-Cov-2; he does step-by-step analysis of a typical claim of isolation; there is no proof that the virus exists—

The global medical community has been asserting that “a pandemic is being caused by a virus, SARS-Cov-2.”

But what if the virus doesn’t exist?

People have been asking me for a step-by-step analysis of a mainstream claim of virus-isolation. Well, here it is.

“Isolation” should mean the virus has been separated out from all surrounding material, so researchers can say, “Look, we have it. It exists.”

I took a typical passage from a published study, a “methods” section, in which researchers describe how they “isolated the virus.” I sent it to Dr. Andrew Kaufman [4], and he provided his analysis in detail.

I found several studies that used very similar language in explaining how “SARS-CoV-2 was isolated.” For example, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 from Patient with Coronavirus Disease, United States, (Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 26, No. 6 — June 2020)” [5].

First, I want to provide a bit of background that will help the reader understand what is going on in the study.

The researchers are creating a soup in the lab. This soup contains a number of compounds. The researchers assume, without evidence, that “the virus” is in this soup. At no time do they separate the purported virus from the surrounding material in the soup. Isolation of the virus is not occurring.

They set about showing that the monkey (and/or human cells) they put in the soup are dying. This cell-death, they claim, is being caused by “the virus.” However, as you’ll see, Dr. Kaufman dismantles this claim.

There is no reason to infer that SARS-CoV-2 is in the soup at all, or that it is killing cells.

Finally, the researchers assert, with no proof or rational explanation, that they were able to discover the genetic sequence of “the virus.”

Here are the study’s statements claiming isolation, alternated with Dr. Kaufman’s analysis:

STUDY: “We used Vero CCL-81 cells for isolation and initial passage [in the soup in the lab]…”

KAUFMAN: “Vero cells are foreign cells from the kidneys of monkeys and a source of contamination. Virus particles should be purified directly from clinical samples in order to prove the virus actually exists. Isolation means separation from everything else. So how can you separate/isolate a virus when you add it to something else?”

STUDY: “…We cultured Vero E6, Vero CCL-81, HUH 7.0, 293T, A549, and EFKB3 cells in Dulbecco minimal essential medium (DMEM) supplemented with heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum (5% or 10%)…”

KAUFMAN: “Why use minimal essential media, which provides incomplete nutrition [to the cells]? Fetal bovine serum is a source of foreign genetic material and extracellular vesicles, which are indistinguishable from viruses.”

STUDY: “…We used both NP and OP swab specimens for virus isolation. For isolation, limiting dilution, and passage 1 of the virus, we pipetted 50 μL of serum-free DMEM into columns 2–12 of a 96-well tissue culture plate, then pipetted 100 μL of clinical specimens into column 1 and serially diluted 2-fold across the plate…”

KAUFMAN: “Once again, misuse of the word isolation.”

STUDY: “…We then trypsinized and resuspended Vero cells in DMEM containing 10% fetal bovine serum, 2× penicillin/streptomycin, 2× antibiotics/antimycotics, and 2× amphotericin B at a concentration of 2.5 × 105 cells/mL…”

KAUFMAN: “Trypsin is a pancreatic enzyme that digests proteins. Wouldn’t that cause damage to the cells and particles in the culture which have proteins on their surfaces, including the so called spike protein?”

KAUFMAN: “Why are antibiotics added? Sterile technique is used for the culture. Bacteria may be easily filtered out of the clinical sample by commercially available filters (GIBCO) [6]. Finally, bacteria may be easily seen under the microscope and would be readily identified if they were contaminating the sample. The specific antibiotics used, streptomycin and amphotericin (aka ‘ampho-terrible’), are toxic to the kidneys and we are using kidney cells in this experiment! Also note they are used at ‘2X’ concentration, which appears to be twice the normal amount. These will certainly cause damage to the Vero cells.”

STUDY: “…We added [not isolated] 100 μL of cell suspension directly to the clinical specimen dilutions and mixed gently by pipetting. We then grew the inoculated cultures in a humidified 37°C incubator in an atmosphere of 5% CO2 and observed for cytopathic effects (CPEs) daily. We used standard plaque assays for SARS-CoV-2, which were based on SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) protocols…”

STUDY: “When CPEs were observed, we scraped cell monolayers with the back of a pipette tip…”

KAUFMAN: “There was no negative control experiment described. Control experiments are required for a valid interpretation of the results. Without that, how can we know if it was the toxic soup of antibiotics, minimal nutrition, and dying tissue from a sick person which caused the cellular damage or a phantom virus? A proper control would consist of the same exact experiment except that the clinical specimen should come from a person with illness unrelated to COVID, such as cancer, since that would not contain a virus.”

STUDY: “…We used 50 μL of viral lysate for total nucleic acid extraction for confirmatory testing and sequencing. We also used 50 μL of virus lysate to inoculate a well of a 90% confluent 24-well plate.”

KAUFMAN: “How do you confirm something that was never previously shown to exist? What did you compare the genetic sequences to? How do you know the origin of the genetic material since it came from a cell culture containing material from humans and all their microflora, fetal cows, and monkeys?”

—end of study quotes and Kaufman analysis—

My comments: Dr. Kaufman does several things here. He shows that isolation, in any meaningful sense of the word “isolation,” is not occurring.

Dr. Kaufman also shows that the researchers want to use damage to the cells and cell-death as proof that “the virus” is in the soup they are creating. In other words, the researchers are assuming that if the cells are dying, it must be the virus that is doing the killing. But Dr. Kaufman shows there are obvious other reasons for cell damage and death that have nothing to do with a virus. Therefore, no proof exists that “the virus” is in the soup or exists at all.

And finally, Dr. Kaufman explains that the claim of genetic sequencing of “the virus” is absurd, because there is no proof that the virus is present. How do you sequence something when you haven’t shown it exists?

Readers who are unfamiliar with my work (over 300 articles on the subject of the “pandemic” during the past year [7]) will ask: Then why are people dying? What about the huge number of cases and deaths? I have answered these and other questions in great detail. The subject of this article is: have researchers proved SARS-CoV-2 exists?

The answer is no.

—end of Kaufman article—

And while I’m at it, here is another piece I wrote last year about how virus-propaganda (fairy tales) must be managed, in order to make the masses stand up and salute:

—The “hot zone” theory of new frightening diseases—

Remember? There was a 1994 book by that name— and then “experts” began piling on—it went something like this:

“Out of the deep dark rainforests of Earth (cue sounds of native drumming), as a result of modern plane travel, viruses we’ve never encountered before will spread epidemics across the globe. Our immune systems, ill-equipped to recognize or deal with these strange killer germs, will fold up under the pressure, and all of civilization will be threatened with extinction.”

Let’s see. Since planes fly back and forth, and since all sorts of Westerners travel TO the rainforests, why haven’t we seen whole native tribes wiped out by viruses from the deep dark streets of Brooklyn?

It would even seem that viruses, common in, say, Norway, would cause trouble in Oregon.

Why does it have to be “viruses from jungles?” Or other faraway places like China? Why can’t we have the Second City Virus, emanating from a slaughterhouse in Chicago and infecting people in Nigeria? Why can’t we have a Big Easy virus from New Orleans traveling to Beijing?

Is it possible that jungles and Africa and China and Mexico are typically chosen for virus fairy tales because, in the minds of many Westerners, they satisfy a requirement of “strange,” “different,” “primitive,” and so on? We’re talking theater here—and when you stage a propaganda play (fiction), you want to tap into the reflex instincts of the audience. The Hartford Virus, the Des Moines Virus, the Vancouver Virus just don’t fit the bill.

Because they can’t drive up the fear that jungles or Africa or China can.

Unless you’ve been living in an ice cave in the Arctic, you know selling fear of THE VIRUS is big business. To do that, you have to strike the right notes.

I personally would be interested in a Beverly Hills or a Scarsdale or a Park Avenue epidemic virus story. I’d like to see the media try to sell that one.

What about a Bill Gates Seattle virus that some Patient Zero unknowingly carries on a plane flight to Mexico City?

Think it through. We NEVER hear killer virus stories about germs traveling from Europe and America to Asia and Africa. Why not? Because such a story won’t sell. It won’t bite.

This is called a clue.

It tells you that virus-stories are shaped and managed and written and managed and broadcast according to a plan that has nothing to do with actual disease.

If a monkey in Africa can bite a man and thus transmit a virus to the West, then a salesman in Duluth can sneeze on a man at a local airport and thus send a virus to Ethiopia.

But amazingly, through secret communication among viruses, it never happens that way. The germs have decided what the traffic pattern is, and the CDC and the World Health Organization are just discovering What Is.

Sure they are. And if you buy that, I have condos for sale on the far side of the moon.










Source: Jon Rappoport – LewRockwell