US is a threat to global well-being. Its opposition to breast feeding stuns WHO officials. Trump administration sides with corporate interests. Assholes.

The US should be banned from attending meetings of the WHO (World Health Organisation) since it seems to place corporate interests, war and bullying far ahead of human well-being. This article from the New York Times beggars belief in reporting that the Trump administration has refused to endorse breast feeding. The motion was put forward in Geneva,, and wait for it......"they (the Americans..) turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs. The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid."

“We were astonished, appalled and also saddened,” said Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who has attended meetings of the assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, since the late 1980s." It gets worse. "During the deliberations, some American delegates even suggested the United States might cut its contribution to the W.H.O., several negotiators said. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organization, providing $845 million, or roughly 15 percent of its budget, last year.

'The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues."

"Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease. A 2016 study in The Lancet found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk. Scientists are loath to carry out double-blind studies that would provide one group with breast milk and another with breast milk substitutes. “This kind of ‘evidence-based’ research would be ethically and morally unacceptable,” Ms. Sterken said.

Abbott Laboratories, the Chicago-based company that is one of the biggest players in the $70 billion baby food market, declined to comment."

"The Americans also sought, unsuccessfully, to thwart the WHO effort aimed at helping poor countries obtain access to lifesaving medicines. Washington, supporting the pharmaceutical industry, has long resisted calls to modify patent laws as a way of increasing drug availability in the developing world, but health advocates say the Trump administration has ratcheted up its opposition to such efforts." The assholes also fought any attempt to put a "health tax" on sugary drinks. 

And there you have it. This is what happens when the Orcs get into power.... All the way (home) USA !

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Trump administration officials threaten, intimidate and bully those who disagree with their corporatism

Global warming: Antarctic ice melting at fastest ever rate - already 3 times faster than 5 years ago

"Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies.

A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time."

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This image makes the point. 

The Earth's biosphere will always survive. We may not.

This article, written by Adam Frank, a professor of astrophysics, and asks "What does it mean to save the Earth?" Earth, as the blue-planet, the planet with oxygen and temperate climates and sources of life-sustaining resources, has been shaped by life itself. It's Life in the form of blue-green bacteria that has made Earth what it is - and it wasn't always so hospitable.

The Earth's biosphere - the cosmic force that makes life possible - can survive anything that's thrown at it. As he says, the biosphere - which makes life possible - has survived cataclysms far worse than mankind's pollutions for millions of years and bounced back. It is endlessly adaptable. But here's the catch: mankind is not able to adapt the way other more basic life forms can. If we damage the biosphere, it can move on without us - and so the professor makes a case that if we are to save civilisation we need to change our ways.

"Our planet does not need our saving. The biosphere has endured cataclysms far worse than us — and after millions of years thrived again. Even the Earth’s five fearsome mass extinctions became opportunities for the biosphere’s creativity, driving new rounds of evolutionary experiments. That, after all, is how we big-brained mammals ended up dominating the Earth rather than our dinosaur predecessors."

"Mankind needs to make the difference now. "It means we must become the agent for something the Earth has not seen before — a biosphere that is also awake to itself and can act for its future with both compassion and wisdom."

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In the long term, the Earth will carry on without mankind....and the biosphere will always bounce back

The deeper parts of oceans are now being commercially exploited with huge risks

This article from the New York Times outlines new threats caused by ruthless exploitation of rights to the deeper ocean spaces and sea-beds themselves. Every aspect of the deep oceans - from marine life, to minerals, gems and rare elements. This is not the same thing as mining shallow coastal waters and new technological advances now present opportunities for commercial exploitation that were unthinkable a few years ago.

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"Given the state of our oceans, the stakes are incredibly high"

US has just had warmest ever May surpassing 1934 'dustbowl" record.

Some states also recorded the wettest month in their history - and this link to the Washington Post shows some remarkable video images of flooding. The underlying problem is that the high-altitude jet stream that separates cold air from warm air shifted north of the Canadian border and allowed hotter air to move northwards behind it. Rising greenhouse gas concentrations are considered to have played a large role. Climate-change deniers (like Trump supporters) stand to become victims of these new extremes. Lucky for them they live by the values of the sinking-ship...  "Every man for himself."

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Startling image of the 1934 dustbowl drought and heat.

A better chance of curing some aggressive cancers

This (hyped) article from the Washington Post claims that a new kind of immunotherapy could be a miraculous cure for some aggressive cancers. A technique known as CAR T-cell therapy can enable the body's own immune system to target cancers - with astonishing results even in case of advanced mutations. The results so far have been confined to relatively rare cancers. A team at the US National Cancer Institute is sequencing the genes in the patient’s tumor, then finding immune cells that are already primed to look for the tumor’s unique mutations. These are grown in a lab, and then infused back into the patient’s body in massive numbers. The process is both extraordinarily expensive and doesn't work on many common cancers, but they're working on that too. Let's wait and see. And the patriotic jingle at the end of the article grates.

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The article highlights an interesting development in immunotherapy in treating certain rare and aggressive cancers

Netherlands to build first 3D printed houses: that's a lot of printer cartridges....

In a remarkable innovation, the Dutch city of Eindhoven is introducing the concept of 3D printed houses. The concept is a response to the shortage of bricklayers in the Netherlands. They are also planning to enable individuals to design and print their own houses. The innovators believe that within 5 years the method will become mainstream. Watch this space.....

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3D printed houses.. surrounded by 3D printed grass and trees...