Take action against yet another undemocratic EU trade deal

A petition entitled, “Don’t let CETA bypass democracy” is circulating in response to a European Commission (EC) press release published on 5th July, proposing, “Signature and conclusion of EU-Canada trade deal”. The EC have formally proposed to the Council of the EU the signature and conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. President Jean-Claude Juncker is on record saying, "The trade agreement between the EU and Canada is our best and most progressive trade agreement and I want it to enter into force as soon as possible”. Critics say that the hidden agenda is the EC’s desire to launch CETA ‘provisionally’ before countries even sign on. It appears that even if a Member State’s parliament says no, parts of the deal will remain in effect anyway. Critics add that, “The parallels with TTIP are uncanny: CETA could open the door for corporations to run roughshod over our environment, workers' rights and affordable healthcare. We’ve got to stop this corporate power grab. If we succeed, this will set a precedent to also stop TTIP”. Of particular note for the UK is that “CETA could bind UK for 20 years after Brexit.

GMO Golden rice is a false miracle

In a new article, Dr Vandana Shiva, executive director of the Navdanya Trust, has slammed genetically modified golden rice. She says, “Golden rice is a false miracle. It is a disease of nutritionally empty monocultures offered as a cure for nutritional deficiency. In fact, golden rice, if successful, will be 400% less efficient in providing vitamin A”. She stresses that it is diversity that provides good nutrition, and that monocultures destroy diversity. She also strongly underlines that, “Women are being blocked from growing biodiversity and spreading their knowledge to address malnutrition, by rich and powerful men and their corporations who are blind to the richness of the earth and our cultures”. Her article powerfully concludes with her statement that, “The biopiracy of people’s biodiversity and indigenous knowledge is what Mr Gates is funding. The Gates fortification or Nobel fortification, will not nourish people. Fraud is not food”.

Japanese teenage girls sue for damages over HPV vaccine

The Japan Times reports that 64 girls are to take legal action over the health damage they have suffered since receiving the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) cancer vaccines. The girls, who received the vaccines when they were between 11 and 16 years of age, are suffering health problems which include “pain all over the body”. They will file damages lawsuits against the government and two drugmakers that produced the vaccines through four district courts on 27th July, and will demand, initially, a total of ¥960 million. The lawyers say the vaccines, “have caused nerve disorders and other problems due to the excessive immune reactions they caused”, and claim that, “the government’s approval of the ineffective vaccines was illegal. The drugmakers bear product liability”. Read more information about the HPV vaccine.

Vitamin B12 deficiency raised with UK Public Health Minister

Vitamin B12 deficiency campaigner Tracey Witty, along with her MP, met recently with the UK Public Health Minister Jane Ellison and two advisors. Surprised, Witty said that, “… Jane Ellsion said that in three years in the post she hadn’t heard anything about B12 deficiency and therefore all that I delivered was new to her!”. She made the Minister aware of the 18,000 signatures on the petition to make B12 available to purchase ‘over the counter’ from pharmacies. She spoke about her own experience of B12 deficiency, and of the 20,000 visits per month to her B12 deficiency awareness website. Witty continues to urge concerned individuals to keep raising their concerns with their MPs at this time. She requests that letters are addressed to both their local MP, Jane Ellison MP and the UK Minister for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP. Tracey Witty’s recent B12 deficiency conference at Loughborough University saw US vitamin B12 expert Sally Pacholok as the keynote speaker once more.

ATMs to dispense drugs in South Africa

South Africans will soon be using ATMs to obtain their medicine. This was announced at this week’s International AIDS Conference by the Ministry of Heath. A spokesperson said, “The pharmacy dispensing unit (PDU)‚ currently being piloted at Thembalethu clinic in Johannesburg‚ is a self-service machine where patients can obtain their medication in the same way people withdraw money at an ATM”. The idea is that registered users will receive a card similar to a bank card and a PIN for insertion into the PDU machine. They will then select their required medication from their ‘prescription list’. In addition, the PDU “also allows patients to communicate with a trained pharmacist directly from the machine using a built-in video conferencing function".