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Thu, 01 Jun 2023
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Pharmaceutical company that hiked up AIDS drug from $14 to $750 facing anti-trust probe

© Reuters
Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that increased the price of a drug used by AIDS and cancer patients by more than fifty times, is now facing an antitrust probe by the New York state attorney general.

Upon acquiring Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug no longer under patent protection, Turing raised the price from $13.50 a pill all the way up to $750, leading to widespread outrage and igniting a debate about pharmaceutical industry practices.

The office of the Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, wrote to Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli on Monday, inquiring about concerns that the company might be trying to prevent generic versions of Daraprim from being produced. The antitrust office is concerned that Turing may have restricted distribution of the drug specifically so that generic drug manufacturers couldn't get the samples they need to create their own version.

Companies that make generics need the name-brand versions for testing purposes, to prove that the drug they manufacture is pharmaceutically equivalent and can be substituted in treatment.

Heart - Black

Infant died after family was evicted from social housing

© Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
A 10-week old baby, born prematurely, died after his parents and sister were evicted from social housing in Warwickshire following the withdrawal of tenancy support, a serious case review has found.

"John," who was ten-weeks old, died on the night the family was forced from their home in September 2013.

He died during the night while sharing his grandparents' sofa with one of his parents, Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) said.

A serious case review into the incident found the eviction had taken place after the social housing agency had withdrawn the family's tenancy support.

The damning report also ruled a wide range of organizations and state agencies "could have done more" to help the family handle the eviction.

Agency responses were sometimes "superficial and do not always get to the heart of what the issues are, and therefore do not fully address risk," the report said.


About time: UK to investigate use of psychosis inducing anti-malarial drug which has been banned in other countries

Malaria Mosquito
© Unknown
A UK House of Commons Committee is to hold an inquiry into the Ministry of Defense's (MoD) use of the anti-malarial drug Lariam, with concerns it can induce psychotic behavior and other mental health side effects.

Following long-held concerns over the use of the drug, the Commons Defense Select Committee released a statement saying they will be taking evidence into the issuing of Lariam to defense personnel.

"The Committee believes that this is a matter which merits further scrutiny. Therefore, it intends to take oral evidence on the use of Lariam by the armed forces. Details of witnesses and terms of reference will be announced in due course."



'I'm not resisting': Harsh and unwarranted arrest of black teen Jason Goolsby prompts public outrage

© LiveLeakArmy / YouTube
A video has emerged of an 18-year-old freshman music student being overpowered by Washington DC police, who were called after some customers in a bank said that he had appeared "suspicious," despite authorities admitting that he did not commit any crime.

The smartphone footage, shot on Monday evening, shows two officers mounting the slightly-built Jason Goolsby, shouting "Stop resisting!" as they handcuff him. Goolsby, in obvious pain, cries "I am not resisting!" while a friend behind the camera repeatedly insists "He didn't do nothing!"

Shared on social media on Tuesday, the video caused an outcry, and a 'Justice for Jason' campaign was started within hours.

Several dozens of activists from Black Lives Matter, a campaigning group set up following several documented instances of harsh police treatment of black suspects in the last year, blocked Pennsylvania Avenue, where the arrest took place, shouting slogans, and the number on the badge of one of the officers in the clip.

Black Cat

Beating God into people: New York teen dies after church members assault him to confess sins

© Reuters / New Hartford Police Department
Deborah Leonard, Bruce Leonard, Sarah Ferguson (top L-R), Joseph Irwin, Linda Morey, and David Morey (bottom L-R) are pictured in this combination of undated handout booking photos provided by the New Hartford Police Department.
A New York couple was charged with manslaughter in the death of their 19-year-old son after allegedly beating him for hours during a family counseling session inside the "sanctuary room" of an upstate Christian church, police said on Wednesday.

The victim's parents, Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, were arraigned on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty. They were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each.

In addition, four of the couple's fellow parishioners were charged with assaulting the teenager's younger brother on Sunday at the Word of Life Church in Chadwicks, New York, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Syracuse.

Comment: Yet another example of when - in the name of Religion - peoples' pathologies get expressed.

2 + 2 = 4

German schoolchildren initiate plan to help refugees by making beds, cooking; pretentious parents outraged

© Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Refugees rests at an improvised temporary shelter in a sports hall in Hanau, Germany.
A school in Lübeck, Germany, included "practical work experience" at a local asylum center into a week activities. The plan angered parents opposed the idea of their children changing linen on refugees' beds, helping to cook food and sorting clothes.

An extract from a letter was posted in Facebook by a mother who obtained it from a friend whose son received it at school. Initially, the text sparked a mixture of bewilderment and disbelief in social media, but after a local newspaper got in touch with Schleswig-Holstein authorities, they confirmed the document was real.

"I am definitely not a hater, I am super tolerant, but this is taking the matter a bit too far. Is there a new discipline at school which is called servitude?" the angry post reads.

The post got over 2,000 shares and more than 600 comments most of them asking why the refugees can't take care of them themselves.

The Kiel Ministry of Education has made it clear that starting this week, 13-14-year-old eighth-graders from one school in the city of Lübeck have been putting fresh linen on refugees' beds, helping out in the kitchen of the asylum seekers' center and sorting clothes collected for the migrants. The chores last from 8:30am till 1:30pm.

"The idea came to light because the school and actually also this class are attended by refugee children. The students go on a daily basis with this issue," said a spokeswoman for the ministry, which insists the commitment was initiated by the students themselves and have not been prescribed by the teachers.

The comments left by indignant parents in social networks could be narrowed down to between 'good advice to refugees to help themselves' and calls to 'clean their mess with their own hands'.

Comment: See also:


Russian people's attitude toward U.S. foreign policy hits record negative high

© Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
Over 70 percent of Russians have a negative view of the role played by the US in international politics, while only a mere 4 percent view Washington's current course positively.

According to the results of the latest research conducted by the independent polling organization the Levada Center, 71 percent of the Russian public think that the United States currently plays a negative role in the world. The researchers noted this was the highest figure ever since it started to carry out this poll eight years ago.

The previous peak in negativity towards the US was in 2008, after a brief war that erupted after Georgia, backed by Washington, attacked the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia, which was protected by Russian peacekeepers under an international agreement.

Back then 53 percent of Russians said that they were against the United States' international politics and 12 percent assessed it in positive way.

Comment: The majority of Russian people, much like their leader, see the U.S. as the destructive force it is. They are clearly more well-informed than most of the Western population.


Man shames city officials by donating $70,000 to school to save teacher's job

© Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
What began as a mundane Sunday evening on the internet for one Seattle man quickly turned to one of impulsive charity when he clicked away from football scores to read about financial troubles facing a local school district.

Brian Jones grew concerned reading about Seattle's Alki Elementary and the parents struggling to raise funds for the school. The parents started an online crowdfunding campaign to raise $90,000 so that a first-grade teacher wouldn't have to leave or take a cut in pay and benefits. They only had $20,000 raised until Jones swooped in with a swift $70,000 donation to cover the difference.

Amazingly, he didn't even know who the teacher was.

Comment: School funding will be an increasing problem for cities as the US economy is showing clear signs of heading for a depression.

Heart - Black

Newborn dies after UK family is evicted from social housing

newborn baby
© Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
A ten-week-old baby boy died on the night his family were evicted from their Warwickshire home, after being failed by the agencies who should have been supporting them, according to a serious case review. The circumstances around the death of the child, named 'John', emerged on 14 October. The baby boy was born six weeks prematurely. He and his sister Amber, who was under two, had been regarded as 'children in in need' by social services because of concerns over neglect.

His family's eviction from their housing association property took place on on September 1st 2013 and they ended up staying with relatives. "They had to leave numerous things behind in the flat including a travel cot, nappies, children's clothes and toys as there would not be enough room for them at the grandmother's home," noted the review. John had been taken downstairs for a feed and died after sleeping on the sofa with his mother. The dangers of the sleeping arrangements, with "a premature baby and high likelihood of mum falling asleep with him on the sofa" risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, "were not ascertained," by any of the professionals involved, it said. An open verdict into the baby's death was recorded by the coroner in September 2013.

The review, published on 13 October by Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB), revealed that the family's need for help was apparent months earlier. They had been threatened with eviction in September 2012, and in April 2013 John's mother went to her GP to ask for an abortion. But since she was already more than 24 weeks pregnant "there was no choice but to carry on the pregnancy." The family's "social situation or social needs were not considered" and "there was no consideration of the impact upon Susan of the unplanned pregnancy, or if there could possibly be any safeguarding issues to consider."

Comment: Appalling. Sounds like a case of bureaucratic 'turf protection' in which the needs of the family came last, if they were remembered at all.


Russian oil price recovery bows to US shale production, returns to the plough

Russian farmers
© www.telegraph.co.uk
The seeds of the future, the traditions of the past.
The Kremlin has launched an incredible volte-face in economic policy and turned to traditional industries like farming in the face of tumbling oil prices

Russia has abandoned hopes for a lasting recovery in oil prices, bracing for a new era of abundant crude as US shale production transforms the global energy market. The Kremlin has launched a radical shift in strategy, rationing funds for the once-sacrosanct oil and gas industry and relying instead on a revival of manufacturing and farming, driven by a much more competitive rouble.

"We have to have prudent forecasts. Our budget is based very conservative assumptions of oil at around $50 a barrel," said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. "It is no secret that if the price goes down, investment peters out and disappears," he told a group of investors at VTB Capital's 'Russia Calling!' forum in Moscow.

The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said over-reliance on oil and gas over the last decade had been a fundamental error, leading to an overvalued currency and the slow death of other industries in a textbook case of the Dutch Disease. "We should stop caring so much about the oil industry and leave more space for others. We have to take very tough decisions and redistribute our resources," he said.

Comment: "Dutch Disease" is the negative impact on an economy of anything that gives rise to a sharp inflow of foreign currency, such as the discovery of large oil reserves. The currency inflows lead to currency appreciation, making the country's other products less price competitive on the export market.

Comment: Strengthening and undergirding farming and manufacturing will hold Russia in good stead, given the current trend for earth changes, war and global economic catastrophe. Smart move to not obsess over spilled oil and to jump-shift back to the reliable standards and basic needs of its people.