Joedawg's blog

AMSTERDAM, Sep 21 (IPS) - Tim Mohin, is Chief Executive of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)The unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 have reminded us that we are an interconnected global community. While this crisis rightly has dominated our attention, we must not lose sight of progress on the broader aims of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Read the full story, “SDGs: It’s Not Just About Collecting Data, it’s What You Do With it”, on

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 (IPS) - Amid various global conflicts in the 1980s and 1990s, the International Day of Peace (IDOP) was established to commemorate the strengthening of the ideals of peace globally. Today, peace is not just the absence of conflict, but a key prerequisite for development. It is in recognition of the crucial linkages between peace, respect for human rights and sustainable development that more than 36 indicators for peace were included across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Just like charity, peace begins at home. 

Kenya stands out as a paradigm of locally crafted peace processes and cross-border initiatives with Ethiopia and Uganda that are gaining global visibility.

March 9, 2018 will go down in Kenya's history books as one of many defining moments when the country took a step closer towards peace. On this day, on the steps of Harambee House, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt Honorable, Raila Odinga, shook hands. This averted a major political crisis that was characterized by calls for regional secession, economic boycotts and mobilization for civil unrest.

The theme of this year's IDOP is ‘building peace together' which reminds us of what has been achieved, and what remains to be done to secure a peaceful and just world. In the midst of continuing conflicts around the world, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has appealed for a global ceasefire, urging all warring parties to lay down their weapons and focus on the battle against the common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic. This call was by no means directed merely to armed parties, but is a call to Member States, regional partners, non-State actors, civil society organizations, to return to the fundamental values of the UN Charter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a host of inequalities and vulnerabilities in our societies that threaten human progress. For the first time since 1990, human development is on course to decline, affecting the most marginalized in our societies disproportionately, women, the elderly, unemployed youth, refugees, and other vulnerable groups, especially those in humanitarian settings. That is why it is more important than ever to work together across all sectors and at all levels to "build forward better".

But with every crisis comes opportunity. The UN is working with countries around the world, including Kenya, to take immediate bold action to stem the socio-economic impacts and put in place recovery strategies that are sustainable, transformative and innovative. Together, we have a chance to take a bold leap forward to a sustainable, inclusive, peaceful, and resilient future, with the SDGs as our compass.

Read the full story, “Peace is the North Star During and the Post COVID-19 Pandemic”, on

BONN, Germany/UNITED NATIONS, Sep 18 (IPS) - Aryan is a 15-year-old girl from Afghanistan who lives with her family in a shelter in an undisclosed country in Europe. She doesn't go to school. But she is hugely creative. And it shows in how she occupies her time during the day — writing poetry and making bracelets and earrings that she hopes to sell online one day. 

Her mom is creative too. Though her creativity stems more from necessity and a need to care for her family. At the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns when Aryan's mother couldn't find a supply of protective masks for her family to wear, she made them out of socks.

Aryan likens the COVID-19 lockdowns to a war, one without the dropping of bombs.

But she says life is more difficult for those without a place to live, with no home and no shelter.

She thinks specifically of what is happening on the border of Greece and Turkey. In the refugee camps, particularly Moria, which is located on the Greek island of Lesbos.

"How crowded and cold it is there, how can people be so blind to forget the children, how their toys can become infected from dirty water and from garbage all around," she says.

Not just a health crisis but an education crisis also

Aryan is sadly just one of the world's 40 million displaced children. Her story is just a chapter of the larger story faced not only by refugee children but also the 75 million children living in conflict zones. Children whose lives have become more complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United Nations, school closures resulting from the pandemic have affected 1.6 billion learners across more than 190 countries.

"We are facing an economic and a health crisis, which has now become an education crisis. And the people who are hardest hit are the 30 million refugees, the 40 million displaced children, the 75 million children in conflict zones. And we know from the reports that we've just heard … despite all our efforts the situation is just getting worse and not better and we have to do more," former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown said yesterday Sept. 17.

Brown was speaking at a webinar on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly hosted by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) — a multilateral global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises — titled "The Future of Education is Here for Those Left Furthest Behind". He was joined by education advocates, leaders and politicians, as well as fellow teachers from around the world. 

Seeing young children from Moira, forcibly on the move, must be catalyst for supporting their education

Brown is chair of the ECW high-level steering group and also the U.N. special envoy for global education, brought attention to the current situation in Moria, which was devastated on Sept. 8 by a fire.

According to Human Rights Watch, the destruction in the largest refugee camp in Europe, left some 13,000 refugees and asylum seekers without shelter and services.

Greek authorities have been attempting to move people to a new camp, while Germany has offered to give shelter to some of the refugees and asylum seekers.

But Brown had raised the tragic situation of the camp two years ago. 

"I highlighted the tragic situation of three young teenagers who couldn't get education or any resources at the Moria camp in Greece. Young people who were driven to try suicide themselves. Losing hope, desolate, they tried to take their own lives. And I appealed for more funds to help the refugees there and in the other camps nearby," he recalled.

"A few weeks ago, when I was trying with others to get money into this camp for help with education, we had one of the worst fires we have seen. Today we are seeing hundreds of people moving from that area into other camps in the area but worried about their future," Brown said.

He said that if there was anything to persuade people to do more and commit to the education of children in conflict it was seeing young children from Moira, forcibly on the move "having to find a new camp for themselves but still in need of the education and the help and the support that we haven't been able to give so far," Brown said, emphasising that this was the mission and task at ECW and to ensure that millions of people and displaced refugees have a better future. 

Read the full story, “Helping Make Education a Reality for the 75 million Children in Conflict Zones”, on

After looking at a database of 850 patients diagnosed with lymphatic and bone marrow cancers between 1972 and 1980, researchers from the University of Tasmania and Britain‘s Bristol University found that living near high-voltage power lines might increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma, and related conditions later in life.

People who lived within 328 yards of a power line up to the age of five were five times more likely to develop cancer. Those who lived within the same range to a power line at any point during their first 15 years were three times more likely to develop cancer as an adult.

Internal Medicine Journal September 2007; 37(9):614-9 August 24, 2007

By Dr. Mercola

Up to 50 million Americans struggle with acne, making it the most common skin disorder in the United States.1

When it strikes during the teen years, it can lead to feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment and depression. Many severe acne sufferers struggle with low self-confidence, feelings of alienation and social withdrawal as a result.

And it's not only teens who are affected; one in five U.S. adults also suffers from acne, and for them the psychological toll is often no less severe.

Many are desperate for help to clear their skin, and if the typical face washes and topical treatments don't work, they may gratefully accept a prescription for the acne drug Roaccutane (generic name, isotretinoin, and formerly sold as Accutane in the United States).

Isotretinoin (Formerly Sold as Accutane) Greatly Overused

This is an extreme step, given that isotretinoin is easily one of the most dangerous drugs ever made. Yet, incredibly it remains the industry standard for treating severe acne. One leading UK dermatologist even recently spoke out to say it is being greatly overused.

More than half a million people worldwide have been prescribed Roaccutane, despite the fact that it's intended to be used only as a last resort (and even then its use is highly questionable). But UK dermatologist Tony Chu said that often Roaccutane is being offered far more than that:2

"Roaccutane is grossly overused …I've seen patients who have been to see a local dermatologist to treat four of five spots and still been offered it … If you read the guidelines it should only be used for people who have severe acne."

In the United States, it remains one of the most controversial drugs, and Swiss drugmaker Roche, manufacturer of Accutane, has spent most of this century in court defending itself against lawsuits from people whose health has been irreparably damaged by this menacing drug.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Suicide, Depression and More …

Roche has lost nine out of 13 lawsuits since 2007, and was ordered to pay more than $25 million in damages in 2010, plus another $18 million in 2012, to Accutane users who developed inflammatory bowel disease as a result of the drug. Due to generic competition and the exorbitant cost of defending personal injury lawsuits, Roche stopped selling the drug in June 2009.

However, the generic form of Accutane (isotretinoin) is no less deadly and remains available on the marketplace under the names Claravis, Sotret and Amnesteem. Aside from its links to inflammatory bowel disease, Accutane has been implicated as a cause of depression and suicide.

In 2004, brain scans showed that people taking Accutane suffer a 21 percent decrease in activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain area known to mediate symptoms of depression.3 These brain changes may explain the depression, suicidal and aggressive behavior, and psychotic reactions reported by some Accutane users.

Is reducing your acne worth that? In light of this evidence and reports of suicide or suicide attempts associated with the use of isotretinoin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated:4

"All patients treated with isotretinoin should be observed closely for symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts, such as sad mood, irritability, acting on dangerous impulses, anger, loss of pleasure or interest in social or sports activities, sleeping too much or too little, changes in weight or appetite, school or work performance going down, or trouble concentrating, or for mood disturbance, psychosis, or aggression.

…Patients taking isotretinoin may experience side effects including bad headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, stroke, diarrhea, and muscle weakness. Additionally, serious mental health problems, such as depression and suicide, have been reported with isotretinoin use."

Isotretinoin is a Category X Drug for Pregnancy – Guaranteed to Cause Birth Defects

Isotretinoin now has the strongest warning available for any drug category — and was given an FDA Pregnancy Category X rating, which means if you are taking isotretinoinand become pregnant, you are virtually guaranteed to be damaging your baby. Accutane is extremely teratogenic (causing damage to a fetus). According to the FDA:5

"If you are pregnant or may get pregnant, isotretinoin can cause birth defects, miscarriage, premature births, and death in babies."

The risk is so well-established that anyone taking the drug must go through the FDA's iPledge system, which was designed specifically to eliminate fetal exposure to this toxic drug. The system requires both the patient and the prescriber to enter in specific information on a monthly basis prior to the drug being dispensed. In the United States, a woman must:

  • Use two forms of effective contraception simultaneously for one month before, during, and for one month after isotretinoin therapy.
  • Have two negative urine or blood (serum) pregnancy tests with a sensitivity of at least 25 mIU/ml before receiving the initial isotretinoin prescription (an additional pregnancy test must be taken with each month of additional therapy).

According to the FDA's iPledge system:6

"There is an extremely high risk that severe birth defects will result if pregnancy occurs while taking isotretinoin in any amount, even for short periods of time. Birth defects which have been documented following isotretinoin exposure include abnormalities of the face, eyes, ears, skull, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and thymus and parathyroid glands. Cases of IQ scores less than 85 with or without other abnormalities have been reported. There is an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, and premature births have been reported.

Documented external abnormalities include: skull abnormality; ear abnormalities (including anotia, micropinna, small or absent external auditory canals); eye abnormalities (including microphthalmia); facial dysmorphia; cleft palate. Documented internal abnormalities include: CNS abnormalities (including cerebral abnormalities, cerebellar malformation, hydrocephalus, microcephaly, cranial nerve deficit); cardiovascular abnormalities; thymus gland abnormality; parathyroid hormone deficiency. In some cases death has occurred with certain of the abnormalities previously noted."

If a drug is this toxic to a developing fetus, it certainly does make you wonder how it could possibly be safe for any living creature. Indeed, in addition to teratogenic and psychological adverse effects, Accutane (isotretinoin) users have also reported the following negative effects:

Increased levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood Increased liver enzyme levels and liver damage Erectile dysfunction Headaches and brain swelling Disturbances of your central nervous system Seizures Damage to skin and mucous membranes Premature epiphyseal closure Hyperostosis (excessive bone growth) and bone demineralization Neutropenia, agranulocytosis, and rhabdomyolysis (blood disorders) Development of inflammatory bowel disease Damage to your eyes including cataracts Hearing impairment Pancreatitis Heart attack and stroke Allergic vasculitis
Did You Know Acne Can be Treated Naturally?

The root cause of acne is most likely not bacteria or genetics, but environmental factors — particularly your diet. Acne is much less of a problem in non-Westernized societies, where refined carbohydrates, sugar and fructose are consumed in much lower amounts. Solid evidence exists that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are the primary CAUSE of acne.

When you eat grain carbohydrates and sugar/fructose, it causes a surge of insulin and an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1 in your body.7 This can lead to an excess of male hormones, which cause your pores to secrete sebum, a greasy substance that attracts acne-promoting bacteria. Additionally, IGF-1 causes skin cells known as keratinocytes to multiply, a process that is also associated with acne.

Additionally, these very same foods -- refined carbs, such as fructose, sugar and grains -- will also increase inflammation in your body, which may trigger acne, and at the same time they will also wreak havoc on the makeup of your intestinal bacteria, which may also play a role.

This is why simply eliminating grains, sugars (particularly fructose), cereals, potatoes, corn, rice, pasta, processed foods, etc., radically improves acne for most people. Fruit contains a fair amount of fructose, so it should be consumed in very limited quantities if you are predisposed to acne. And fruit juices should be strictly avoided since the sugar is very concentrated in them. (Vegetable juices are great, though, especially green juices.)

Additionally, psychological stress may also alter the microflora in your intestines, which could therefore contribute to systemic inflammation that could exacerbate acne and other skin conditions. In one study, researchers noted:8

"Experimental studies show that psychological stress stagnates normal small intestinal transit time, encourages overgrowth of bacteria, and compromises the intestinal barrier. SIBO [small intestinal bacterial over growth] is strongly associated with depression and anxiety, while eradication of SIBO improves emotional symptoms.

Although the frequency of SIBO in acne vulgaris has not yet been investigated, a recent report indicates that SIBO is 10 times more prevalent in those with acne rosacea vs. healthy controls. Correction of SIBO leads to marked clinical improvement in patients with rosacea."

It's actually well proven that stress can aggravate acne. One study involving college students found a connection between acne flare-ups and stress from final exams.9 Researchers found that subjects who had the most stress during examination periods also had the worst acne outbreaks, suggesting emotional stress from external sources is a significant factor. While it has been argued that the stress associated with acne is an effect of acne rather than a cause, the above researchers believe this evidence proved otherwise — that it's the stress that is exacerbating the acne, not vice versa.

Ditch the Drugs and Try This Instead

No one wants to live with acne, but that doesn't mean you have to resort to toxic drugs to clear your skin. Remember, your complexion is a reflection of your overall health. Don't forget to incorporate these essential factors into your acne-busting plan:

  • Sugars/Fructose and Grains: This is probably the single most important step you can take to improve your skin health. If you can eliminate all sugars, fructose and grains for a few weeks there is a major likelihood you will notice rapid improvement in your complexion. Be sure to check out my nutrition plan for a simple guide on how to eat right for healthy skin and overall health.
  • Water: Drink plenty of fresh, pure water every day. Hydrating your body facilitates cell growth and regeneration, elimination of wastes, and sloughing away dead skin cells. Hydration will also improve your skin tone.

    Every day, drink enough water so that your urine is a pale yellow color. If your urine is bright yellow, you probably need to drink more water (unless you take B vitamins, which themselves turn urine bright yellow).

  • Exercise: Getting plenty of high-intensity exercise helps your body flush out toxins, including those in your skin's pores. Plus, exercise is vitally important to all other aspects of your heath. If you happen to have access to an infrared sauna, this can be helpful too, because the more you sweat, the more you flush unwanted debris and contaminants out of your pores.
  • Sleep: Did you know that a good night's sleep can decrease your stress and lead to clearer skin? Your body's main time for healing and rebuilding is at night while you sleep, and this applies to your skin. Sleep is also required for good energy and mood.
  • Proper balance of bacteria: This is especially important if you have been on antibiotics, because those drugs indiscriminately kill off the beneficial bacteria in your gut, without which you cannot have a strong immune system. You can reestablish your bacterial balance by incorporating naturally fermented/cultured foods into your diet and/or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.
  • Vitamin D: This important nutrient is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune response, and most people are deficient in it. Without adequate vitamin D, your body cannot control infection, in your skin or elsewhere. Exposing large areas of your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels, or alternatively use a safe tanning bed. You should expose your skin until you just arely begin turning pink, which indicates you've generated the optimal amount of vitamin D for the day.
  • If you don't have access to regular UV exposure, the last option is an oral vitamin D3 supplement, accompanied by regular monitoring of your vitamin D levels with a blood test.

  • Address your stress: My favorite tool is the Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. EFT involves tapping your body's energy meridians with the tips of your fingers to clear emotional blocks, thus restoring balance to your mind and body. EFT is a powerful de-stressing technique that is easy for adults and children to learn. It can even relieve physical complaints such as chronic pain, allergy symptms, and more. You can also add in other proven stress-busters, such as yoga and meditation.

They are bright yellow, the scent is refreshing and they remind you of summer. Lemons appeared millions of years ago, according to scientists writing in the journal Nature.1 However, the lemon we know today is a hybrid grown from some of the five ancient species of citrus that originated in the Himalayas.2

Each of these varieties has its own taste and consistency. They are easily crossbred, and the resulting hybrids can continue to replicate. Citrus trees flourish in semitropical climates, and there are many that make their home in Asia. You Don't Have to Live in Florida to Grow a Lemon Tree

Nearly all lemons that are sold in North America are from two varieties, Eureka or Lisbon.3 They are so much alike that they are often grown and packed together. A smaller hybrid, the Meyer lemon, was introduced to the U.S. by Frank Meyer, an agricultural explorer, in 1908.4

Currently, this variety is planted extensively in the U.S. in the state of Texas as well as in Australia and New Zealand. It's often grown for home use in California and Florida. Some lemon trees can produce up to 600 pounds of lemons every year and most produce fruit all year long. By growing your own trees, you'll also have access to the leaves, which can be used to make tea.5

Lemons: Medicinal and Delicious

Lemons are a part of the Rutaceae family, having been cultivated for their alkaloids and medicinal properties.6 A lemon adds acid to foods, and can brighten flavors. One common way to use a lemon is to juice it.7

To get the most juice from your lemon, be sure the fruit is at room temperature. Roll it on the counter with the palm of your hand and wait a couple of minutes before cutting it in half and using a juicer. But, the juice isn’t the only part of this fruit that can be used. The whole fruit is edible.

You can zest the rind to add flavor to your baking, add juice to sauces and marinades and slice the peel to be added to soups and stews. Lemons are also a nontoxic, all-natural cleaner and hand deodorizer. If you have too many on hand from harvesting your own tree or purchasing them at the store, you'll need to freeze them before they go bad.

While freezing whole lemons can cause the juice sacks to rupture, taking a few minutes to separate the juice and the rind improves your results. Juice your lemons and reserve the rind. The juice can be frozen first in ice cube trays and then popped out into freezer storage. The rinds can be sliced thinly and frozen separately on a tray before adding them to another freezer container. This prevents them from sticking together.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, low in calories and full of vitamins including calcium, iron, potassium and several of the B vitamins.8 Lemon peel also has a number of health benefits and can be used to produce essential lemon oil.

Health Benefits From Using Lemons

The health benefits of lemons come from using the juice or peel, not from making lemonade! While it is an acid outside the body, once eaten, it helps to alkalize your pH and counteract the acidifying effects of processed foods and sugar.9

The symptoms of too much acidity in your body include dry skin, sensitive teeth, digestive problems, headaches and brittle hair and nails.10 These clinical symptoms are a sign of a much deeper problem that researchers know contribute to diseases such as cancer, kidney stones, metabolic syndrome and osteoporosis.11

One study found “lemon juice has protective effects on alcohol-induced liver injury in mice.”12 It also may assist with passing gallstones.13 Lemon peels are known to be rich in polyphenols that contribute to digestion and insulin sensitivity.14

Rutin is a bioflavonoid found in lemons that helps vitamin C to work more efficiently.15 It also helps to reduce bleeding, treat hemorrhoids and reduce the potential for hemorrhagic stroke.16,17

Foods rich in polyphenols may also help with weight maintenance. In an animal study, researchers demonstrated that mice that were fed a high-fat diet as well as lemon polyphenols gained much less weight than those who did not receive the treatment.18 In addition, lemons have a molecule called nobiletin.19 The findings from animal studies suggest:20

“… that NOB improves adiposity, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. These effects may be elicited by regulating the expression of lipid metabolism-related and adipokine genes, and by regulating the expression of inflammatory markers and activity of the insulin signaling pathway.”

Let’s Not Forget Essential Oil From the Sunny Lemon

Lemon juice has been commonly used by people with high blood pressure to help lower it. In one study published in 2012 in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, researchers described how they engaged 98 people in a prospective study to test the effects of lemon juice on blood pressure.21

After two weeks, the authors did not record any beneficial effects directly from the juice, and they worried that lemons or other citrus fruits potentially could interfere with the metabolism of prescription drugs a patient may be taking. However, data from studies using aromatherapy have shown different results.

In a study from 2010, scientists discovered that the combination of essential oils of lemon, lavender and ylang ylang used in aromatherapy “… is effective in lowering systolic blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity.”22

In a second study, it was found that aromatherapy involving only lemon reduced systolic blood pressure after three or four days of intervention.23 The researchers gathered 100 people who had an acute myocardial infarction; they either received lemon inhalation aromatherapy or they were included as part of the control group.

Those who received the aromatherapy showed reduced anxiety and demonstrated greater regulation of their heart rate. The researchers suggested using this type of aromatherapy in coronary care units.

The pleasant citrus fragrance of the oil also makes it an effective air freshener. Lemon oil can also help remove oil, grease and other stains from clothing and other surfaces.24 It have demonstrated antimicrobial activity when tested against Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.25

Lemons Were a Luxury and Other Interesting News

In ancient Rome, lemons were a sign of wealth and privilege. This finding comes from a study by The Sonia & Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University in Israel. One discovery was that the lemon was relatively rare in ancient Rome and therefore was treated as a luxury only for the wealthy and elite.26

Lemon juice is an exfoliant, yet the acidity can change the pH in your skin and make it photosensitive in the sun.27 Even squeezing lemons outside on a sunny day can result in phytophotodermatitis and burns on the skin that are visible for months.

Another little-known fact is that when lemon juice has been left out in the air it can develop a distinct bitterness.28 Lemons contain a compound called limonin which is produced when the lemon is squeezed, and enzymes break down the precursor limonin glucoside. The reaction takes a little time and so the bitterness develops later.

Bring Summer Into Your Home All Year-Round

With the number of benefits from eating lemons each day, you may want to be able to just grab a few from your garden. Although they love semitropical climates, even if you live in northern climates, there is a lemon tree that can bear fruit indoors when cared for properly.

The easiest of the varieties to grow indoors are Meyer lemons, which are prized for a sweeter flavor and do not suffer from citrus greening disease, which is decimating the groves of citrus trees throughout Florida. Alternatives include Lisbon lemons and Bearss limes, which also can easily be grown indoors.29

Growing Meyer lemon trees is immensely rewarding as they are not only prolific producers, but the blossoms are fragrant and beautiful. They are self-pollinating, and when taken care of properly, a grafted Meyer lemon tree can produce fruit in as little as two years.30 If grown from seed, it takes between 4 and 7 years before you get your first lemon.

The lemon dwarf tree can grow up to 10 feet tall. To enjoy Meyer lemons year-round you'll want to take a few simple steps to care for your tree. Christopher Satch is the head of plant education at The Sill. In an interview, he told Get Pocket:31

“The real key to success with lemons is giving them enough light and letting them thoroughly dry between waterings. The indoor, full direct sun will correct all their problems. As long as they are in a window that gets a few hours of direct sunlight, they will be fine.”

Your lemon tree will appreciate well-drained soil. Satch advises using potting mix and watering regularly in addition to making sure the plant gets enough light. The soil can be mixed with sand to help with drainage. Terracotta pots work best since they allow the soil to dry faster.

While the plants prefer growing outdoors, under the right conditions they will produce indoors. Plenty of light, high humidity and good air circulation encourages growth. If you plant them outside in a zone that gets weather below 50 degrees F, you need to bring them inside during Satch warns that you can expect a few leaves to drop as the tree will be getting less light and won't be able to nutritionally support as many leaves as it does outside.

He advises to water the tree and then let the soil dry completely. If a lemon tree is not getting enough water the leaves will wilt. If the leaves are turning yellow and dropping it could be that the roots have gotten too wet or the plant has not been kept warm enough.

When they're indoors it's important they get as much sunlight as possible. The more direct sunlight they get, the higher their production. South-facing windows are usually best. He recommends fertilizing once monthly, or every two weeks when the tree is producing fruit.

According to an August 28, 2020, article1,2 in The Telegraph, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson now “insists he does not want to see face coverings in schools.” During a question and answer session posted on Facebook, Johnson said:3,4

“There's no need for it. Indeed, there's a need not to have it because obviously it's very, very difficult to teach or to learn with a face mask on.”

British deputy chief medical officer Dr. Jenny Harries stated the evidence for face masks is “not very strong in either direction,” but that advice may change in the future should scientific evidence emerge. For now, head teachers will be allowed to make their own decisions about mask adherence in school hallways and communal areas.

“Dr. Harries said that the wearing of masks in hallways and communal areas ‘can be very reassuring in those enclosed environments’ despite the lack of definitive science,” The Telegraph reports, adding:5,6

“She also urged people to be ‘very kind’ to those with disabilities who were ‘struggling’ with coronavirus measures such as the wearing of face coverings. ‘Many of the actions that we have quite rightly taken to control the pandemic can be quite difficult for people with all sorts of sensory disabilities,’ she admitted.”

Sweden’s Pandemic Response to Masking

Sweden is one of the few countries where draconian pandemic responses have not been widely implemented. Throughout the pandemic, most of the country’s businesses have remained open, and people have to a large degree been allowed to go about their lives as usual, albeit with the general recommendation to social distance whenever possible.

According to an August 10, 2020, article7,8 in The Times, the epidemiologist in charge of Sweden’s coronavirus pandemic response, Dr. Anders Tegnell, “has dismissed the scientific evidence for mask-wearing as ‘astonishingly weak’ and suggested that making face coverings mandatory could backfire.”

Tegnell insists the only viable solution in the long run is to trust people and give them the responsibility to make sensible decisions for themselves.

“It is a Swedish tradition that we give a lot of responsibility to individuals and influence them. So, we never saw any reason to take more drastic measures … I’m surprised that we don’t have more or better studies showing what effect masks actually have.

Countries such as Spain and Belgium have made their populations wear masks but their infection numbers have still risen. The belief that masks can solve our problem is in any case very dangerous,” Tegnell said in a recent interview with a German newspaper.9,10

Interestingly, despite the country’s lack of lockdowns and mandatory mask requirements, infections have now “dwindled away to a negligible level” on their own.

According to The Times, as of August 10, 2020, Sweden’s total death toll for COVID-19 stood at 5,763. At the peak of the pandemic in mid-April, just under 100 daily COVID-19 related deaths were recorded. By early August, the average death toll was down to one or two per day. Positive test results are also trending downward.

Birx Ridiculously Urges Mask Wearing at Home

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the fact that the curve has been flattened and the total COVID-19 death rate has been dramatically reduced11 doesn’t seem to make a difference. At the end of August, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans to stay vigilant, and to wear their mask whenever they’re around others, including other household members. According to CNN:12

“Birx urged Americans to take personal responsibility, especially if they want to help keep economies open. ‘Right now, we gain freedom through wearing our masks and socially distancing,’ she said.”

Ironically, in mid-August, during a visit to Little Rock, Arkansas, Birx gave the following statements, reported by Eldorado News-Times:13

“‘I’ve been so struck by the number of Americans across the country that have just had it,’ she said. ‘Mortality decreases’ have also complicated matters … ‘When people start to realize that 99 percent of us are going to be fine, it becomes more and more difficult’ to get people to comply, she said.”

What Is the Real Risk of COVID-19 at This Point?

Indeed, it now appears the mortality rate of COVID-19 may be right around or lower than that of influenza. During an August 16, 2020, lecture at The Doctors for Disaster Preparedness14 convention, Dr. Lee Merritt15 pointed out that, based on deaths per capita — which is the only way to get a true sense of the lethality of this disease — the death rate for COVID-19 is around 0.009%.

That number is based on a global total death toll of 709,000, and a global population of 7.8 billion. This also means the average person’s chance of surviving an encounter with SARS-CoV-2 is 99.991%. The U.S. area with the highest death rate, New York, has a death per capita rate of 0.17%. Merritt’s lecture with this information is featured in “How Medical Technocracy Made the Plandemic Possible.”

So, while mainstream media still claims a mortality rate below 1% is a complete hoax, Birx verified — whether on purpose or by accident — that at least 99% of the population has nothing to fear from this virus.

And remember, the total death toll is enormously falsely inflated with those that died WITH, rather than FROM, SARS-CoV-2. The reason the U.S. Centers for Disease Control hasn’t ended COVID-19’s epidemic status also appears to be because they include deaths from pneumonia and influenza in the statistics. Combined, pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 deaths were still above the epidemic threshold, based on data through August 22.16

Meanwhile, deaths in which COVID-19 is listed on the death certificate as the sole cause of death are only 6% of the total COVID-19 death toll, according to CDC data released August 26.17 On that day, the total death toll listed was 161,392, 6% of which would be 9,683.

The remaining 94% had an average of 2.6 “additional conditions or causes” contributing to those deaths. That even includes 5,133 deaths from intentional or unintentional injuries (according to the data listed on August 26; exact numbers may have changed since then).

Evidence Shows Masks Do Not Protect Against Viral Infection

I’ve already written several articles detailing studies showing that masks cannot protect against viral infections. The reason is simple. SARS-CoV-2 has a diameter of 0.06 to 0.14 microns.18 Medical N95 masks — which are considered the most effective — can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns.19 Surgical masks, homemade masks, T-shirts and bandanas are even more porous.

Strangely, mask mandates continue to flourish despite health agencies own research showing it’s a futile measure that only provides a false sense of security:

  • The World Health Organization’s June 5, 2020, guidance memo20 on face mask use states “there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID- 19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”
  • According to a policy review paper21 published in the CDC’s own journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, in May 2020: “Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
  • The National Academies of Sciences in its Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for the COVID-19 Pandemic report,22 published April 8, 2020, concluded “The evidence from … laboratory filtration studies suggest that … fabric masks may reduce the transmission of larger respiratory droplets,” but that “There is little evidence regarding the transmission of small aerosolized particulates of the size potentially exhaled by asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals with COVID-19.”
Researchers Warn Against Cloth Masks

A study published in 2015 recently received additional commentary from the authors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original study23 was titled “A Cluster Randomized Trial of Cloth Masks Compared with Medical Masks in Healthcare Workers.”

They found that health care workers wearing cloth masks had the highest rates of influenza-like illness and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infections, when compared to those wearing medical masks or controls (who used standard practices that included occasional medical mask wearing). Compared to controls and the medical mask group, those wearing cloth masks had a 72% higher rate of lab-confirmed viral infections. According to the authors:

“Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%. This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety.

Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs [health care workers], particularly in high-risk situations …”

In a follow-up commentary dated March 30, 2020, the authors of this study address questions received during the pandemic from health care workers concerned about instructions to use cloth masks if or when medical-grade masks are unavailable. Their comment reads, in part:24

“The study found that cloth mask wearers had higher rates of infection than even the standard practice control group of health workers, and the filtration provided by cloth masks was poor compared to surgical masks …

Health workers are asking us if they should wear no mask at all if cloth masks are the only option. Our research does not condone health workers working unprotected. We recommend that health workers should not work during the COVID-19 pandemic without respiratory protection as a matter of work health and safety …

There have been a number of laboratory studies looking at the effectiveness of different types of cloth materials, single versus multiple layers and about the role that filters can play. However, none have been tested in a clinical trial for efficacy.

If health workers choose to work using cloth masks, we suggest that they have at least two and cycle them, so that each one can be washed and dried after daily use. Sanitizer spray or UV disinfection boxes can be used to clean them during breaks in a single day. These are pragmatic, rather than evidence-based suggestions, given the situation.

Finally for COVID-19, wearing a mask is not enough to protect healthcare workers — use of gloves and goggles are also required as a minimum, as SARS-CoV-2 may infect not only through the respiratory route, but also through contact with contaminated surfaces and self-contamination.

Pandemic Policies Have Achieved Little

Last but not least, a working paper25 by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), written by Andrew Atkeson, Karen Kopecky and Tao Zha, suggests the draconian lockdown measures implemented in many countries, including the U.S., have achieved little in terms of stemming the death toll.

If we are concerned about the evidence on this global experiment, we must concede that most government authorities have likely acted in error. ~ National Bureau of Economic Research

In an August 26, 2020, article, the American Institute for Economic Research presented the following four “stylized facts” from the paper:26

1. “Once a region reaches 25 total COVID deaths, within a month the growth rate in deaths per day falls to approximately zero. In other words, no matter the country or state and its policies, deaths per day stop increasing within 20-30 days of passing a threshold of 25 deaths.

2. Once that happens, deaths per day either begin to fall or the trend remains flat.

3. The variability in death trends across regions has fallen sharply since the beginning of the epidemic and remains low. All states studied, all countries studied, have become more similar in their trends and have remained so.

4. Observations 1-3 suggest that the effective reproduction number, R, has hovered around one worldwide after the first 30 days of the epidemic.

The paper’s conclusion is that the data trends observed above likely indicate that nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) — such as lockdowns, closures, travel restrictions, stay-home orders, event bans, quarantines, curfews, and mask mandates — do not seem to affect virus transmission rates overall.

Why? Because those policies have varied in their timing and implementation across countries and states, but the trends in outcomes do not.”

stylized facts Lockdown Measures Should End Now

Put plainly, the measures we’ve endured these past six months were largely unnecessary. One key reason for why lockdown and social distancing measures had no impact, according to the researchers, is because “human interaction does not conform to simple epidemiological models.”

In a nutshell, human social networks overlap, allowing a virus to rapidly spread for a time. Then, the virus quickly loses momentum, as people have already been exposed via other social networks and are no longer susceptible. The end result is that a form of herd immunity develops, but at a lower rate of infection than typically assumed would be necessary.

What’s more, the authors argue that even if nonpharmaceutical interventions were at one point having some positive effect, that effect no longer applies. Therefore, it would be a mistake to include estimates of NPI effectiveness when trying to forecast the potential outcomes of relaxed measures. As reported by the American Institute for Economic Research:27

“This study provides strong statistical support for what so many have been observing for six months. The epidemic has a natural tendency to spread quickly at first and slow down, seemingly on its own, a point made not only here but as early as April 14 by Isaac Ben-Israel.28

Meanwhile governors imagine that very specific rulesfor opening bars and restaurants are the key to containment. Governments have conducted an unprecedented social, economic, and political experiment in controlling whole populations’ behavior, with high economic and human cost.

The authors ask the right question: has this experiment in government-managed virus control and suppression made a difference? The startling answer they found, after examining data from around the country and the world, is that the evidence simply is not there. If we are concerned about the evidence on this global experiment, we must concede that most government authorities have likely acted in error.”

Why Are They so Persistent With Mask Recommendations?

Considering the strong scientific evidence against it, why are governments so persistent in their recommendation of mask wearing? Clearly, for many, wearing a bandana or cloth mask provides a form of psychological defense, a way to feel less fearful because it feels like you’re doing something to protect yourself and others. But it’s a false sense of security.

Masks will not prevent you from exhaling or inhaling the aerosolized virus. Cloth masks are clearly also the least preferable option if you want to reduce the spread of infection, as their ability to block larger respiratory droplets is also limited.

In particular, N95 masks with airflow valves on the front should be avoided, as the valve lets out unfiltered air, thus negating the small benefit — the reduction in respiratory droplet emissions — you might get from a mask.29

But with mortality rates as low as they are, why would governments be pushing for a false sense of security? It seems completely unnecessary at this point. Remember back in March 2020 when they said we just need to slow down the rate of infection to avoid overcrowding hospitals?

How did we go from that to now having to wear masks everywhere until every trace of the virus has been eliminated, even though a vast majority remain asymptomatic and don’t even know they have the virus unless they get tested?

Overall, it’s starting to look as though mask mandates are being used as a psychological manipulation tool to encourage compliance with vaccination once a vaccine becomes available. At that point, I predict a tradeoff will be offered: Mask mandates will be dropped provided everyone gets vaccinated.

By then, many may be willing to take just about anything as long as they don’t have to wear a mask anymore. I would encourage you to read up on the many open questions relating to fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccines before making that decision. Overall, it seems the best way to avoid having to make such a devious trade is to engage in civil disobedience now, and go unmasked.

Aside from causing a wide variety of side effects in those who take medications, the widespread routine use of pharmaceuticals also pose a serious risk to children who get their hands on them.

As of 2016, nearly half of the U.S. population were on at least one medication.1,2 Twenty-four percent used three or more drugs, and 12.6% were on more than five different medications.3 According to the 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 73.9% of all doctor’s visits also involved drug therapy.4

As one would expect, drug use dramatically increases with age. As of 2016, 18% of children under 12 were on prescription medication, compared to 85% of adults over the age of 60. While this trend is troubling enough, with prescription drugs now being a staple in most homes, the number of children suffering accidental poisoning is also on the rise.

Medications Pose Serious Risks to Young Children

According to a 2012 article5,6 in The Journal of Pediatrics that reviewed patient records from the National Poison Data System of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 453,559 children aged 5 or younger were admitted to a health care facility following exposure to a potentially toxic dose of a pharmaceutical drug between 2001 and 2008.

In that time, drug poisonings rose 22%. Ninety-five percent of cases were due to self-exposure, meaning the children got into the medication and took it themselves, opposed to being given an excessive dose by error.

Forty-three percent of all children admitted to the hospital after accidentally ingesting medication ended up in the intensive care unit, and prescription (opposed to over-the-counter) medications were responsible for 71% of serious injuries, with opioids, sedative-hypnotics and cardiovascular drugs topping the list of drugs causing serious harm. As noted by the authors:7

“Prevention efforts have proved to be inadequate in the face of rising availability of prescription medications, particularly more dangerous medications.”

Keep All Drugs in Childproof Containers

If you’re older, you may recall your parents or grandparents would have a lockable medicine cabinet where drugs were stored. Few people keep their medications in locked cabinets or boxes these days, failing to realize the serious risk they pose to young children.

The hazard is further magnified if you sort your medications into easy-open daily pill organizers rather than keeping each drug in its original childproof container.

A 2020 paper8,9 in The Journal of Pediatrics, which sought to “identify types of containers from which young children accessed solid dose medications during unsupervised medication exposures” found 51.5% involved drugs accessed as a result of having been removed from its original childproof packaging.

Remarkably, in 49.3% of cases involving attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications and 42.6% of cases involving an opioid, the drug was not in any container at all when accessed. In other words, the child found the pill or pills just laying out in the open. In 30.7% of all cases where a child ingested a drug, the exposure involved a grandparent’s medication. As noted by the authors:

“Efforts to reduce pediatric SDM [solid dose medication] exposures should also address exposures in which adults, rather than children, remove medications from child-resistant packaging.

Packaging/storage innovations designed to encourage adults to keep products within child-resistant packaging and specific educational messages could be targeted based on common exposure circumstances, medication classes, and medication intended recipients.”

Teen Drug Overdoses Are Also on the Rise

While infants are notorious for putting anything and everything in their mouth, making them particularly vulnerable to accidental drug exposures, drug overdoses, particularly those involving opioids and benzodiazepines, are also becoming more prevalent among teens with access to these drugs.

According to a 2019 study10 published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, 296,838 children under the age of 18 were exposed to benzodiazepines between January 2000 and December 2015. Over that time, benzodiazepine exposure in this age group increased by 54%. According to the authors:11

“The severity of medical outcomes also increased, as did the prevalence of co-ingestion of multiple drugs, especially in children ages 12 to <18 years. Nearly half of all reported exposures in 2015 were documented as intentional abuse, misuse, or attempted suicide, reflecting a change from prior years …

Medical providers and caretakers should be cognizant of this growing epidemic to avoid preventable harm to adolescents, young children, and infants.”

A similar trend has been found with opioids. A 2017 study12 looking at prescription opioid exposures among children and adolescents in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015 found:

“Poison control centers received reports of 188,468 prescription opioid exposures among children aged<20 years old from 2000 through 2015 … Hydrocodone accounted for the largest proportion of exposures (28.7%), and 47.1% of children exposed to buprenorphine were admitted to a health care facility (HCF).

The odds of being admitted to an HCF were higher for teenagers than for children aged 0 to 5 years or children aged 6 to 12 years. Teenagers also had greater odds of serious medical outcomes … The rate of prescription opioid-related suspected suicides among teenagers increased by 52.7% during the study period.”

Commonsense Precautions

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promotes and supports the Up and Away and Out of Sight campaign, which centers “around several simple, data-driven actions that parents and caregivers can take to prevent medication overdoses in the children they care about and care for.”13 These commonsense precautions include the following:14

  • Store your medications (and supplements) in their original packaging in a place your child cannot reach. Don't store medications in your nightstand, purse or end table where little hands are likely to explore and find them. Any medication stored in the refrigerator should be in childproof packaging. Also make sure drugs are safely stored in areas your child visits frequently, such as a grandparent’s house or a baby sitter.
  • Put all medications away after each use.
  • Make sure to relock the safety cap after each use.
  • Teach your children about medicine safety; never tell them medicine is “like candy” in order to get them to take it.
  • Remind guests to place bags, purses and coats that have medicine in them in a safe place while visiting.
What to Do in Case of Accidental Drug Exposure

Be sure to keep the Poison Help number in your phone, and make sure your baby sitter or caregiver has it. In the U.S., the Poison Help number is 800-222-1222. If you suspect your child has taken a prescription or OTC medication, even if he or she is not yet exhibiting symptoms, call the Poison Help line immediately.

If you’re unsure what medication your child may have taken, call 911 or the emergency number in your area for transportation to the nearest medical facility. Although your child may appear fine in the initial minutes, this can rapidly change. You want to start treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage or potential death.

Remember to bring with you the names of any medications your child may have accidentally ingested, as well as any medications your child has taken in the past 24 hours as prescribed by their doctor, any allergies they have, and any changes or symptoms you may have observed.

Unfortunately, symptoms of a medication overdose can vary widely, depending on the drug, dosage and age of the child. That said, symptoms of an overdose may include:15


Vomiting or diarrhea

Drooling or dry mouth


Pupils that grow larger or shrink


Loss of coordination and/or slurred speech

Extreme fatigue

Yellow skin or eyes

Flu-like symptoms

Unusual bleeding or bruising

Abdominal pain


Rapid heartbeat

Should your child exhibit any of the following symptoms, call 911 (in the U.S.) immediately:16

Won’t wake up

Can’t breathe

Twitches or shakes uncontrollably

Displays extremely strange behavior

Has trouble swallowing

Develops a rapidly spreading rash

Swells up in the face, including around the lips and tongue

Opioid Epidemic Takes Toll on Pediatric Population

It’s crucial to realize that many drugs can be life threatening to a young child, even in low doses. This is particularly true for opioids and buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid dependence. As noted in a 2005 paper17 on opioid exposure in toddlers:

“Ingestions of opioid analgesics by children may lead to significant toxicity as a result of depression of the respiratory and central nervous systems. A review of the medical literature was performed to determine whether low doses of opioids are dangerous in the pediatric population under 6 years old.

Methadone was found to be the most toxic of the opioids; doses as low as a single tablet can lead to death. All children who have ingested any amount of methadone need to be observed in an Emergency Department (ED) for at least 6 h and considered for hospital admission.

Most other opioids are better tolerated in ingestions as small as one or two tablets. Based on the limited data available for these opioids, we conclude that equianalgesic doses of 5 mg/kg of codeine or greater require 4 to 6 h of observation in the ED.

Data for propoxyphene and all extended-release preparations are limited; their prolonged half-lives would suggest the need for longer observation periods. All opioid ingestions leading to respiratory depression or significant central nervous system depression require admission to an intensive care unit.”

Similarly, a 2006 paper18 on the adverse effects of unintentional buprenorphine exposure in children noted that:

“Buprenorphine in sublingual formulation was recently introduced to the American market for treatment of opioid dependence. We report a series of 5 toddlers with respiratory and mental-status depression after unintentional buprenorphine exposure.

Despite buprenorphine's partial agonist activity and ceiling effect on respiratory depression, all children required hospital admission and either opioid-antagonist therapy or mechanical ventilation …

The increasing use of buprenorphine as a home-based therapy for opioid addiction in the United States raises public health concerns for the pediatric population.”

The take-home message here is that as drug treatment increases and becomes ever-more prevalent among all age groups, the risk of unintentional exposure increases as well. Toddlers will stick just about anything in their mouth, and young children will often not recognize there’s a difference between pills and candy.

As parents and caregivers, we simply must take the necessary precautions to keep all medications in a safe place, well out of reach of curious hands. Failure to safeguard your medications can have profoundly tragic consequences, so please, do not take this matter lightly.

HYDERBAD, India, Sep 08 (IPS) - IPS senior correspondent Stella Paul interviews Nobel Laureate KAILASH SATYARTHI on the eve of Fair Share for Children Summit, a global virtual conference in which Nobel Laureates and world leaders are calling for the world's most marginalised children to be protected against the impacts of COVID-19.Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi warns of the danger that over one million children could die, not because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of the economic crisis facing their families.

In an exclusive interview with IPS, Satyarthi said that without prioritising children we could lose an entire generation as evidence mounts that the number of child labourers, child marriages, school dropouts and child slaves has increased as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe.

Read the full story, “Exclusive: Kailash Satyarthi Warns over a Million Children Could Die Because of COVID-19 Economic Crisis”, on

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 07 (IPS) - If countries considered Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a central policy in their health systems, the COVID-19 has surely demonstrated the need for its urgent and widespread roll out. The pandemic has upended world systems in a manner that no scientists or sophisticated global intelligence could have foreseen.

Having been tapped to join the World Health Organization's Executive Board to represent Africa midst this global crisis, I am persuaded that despite its toll, this pandemic has ‘blessings' on its flipside. COVID-19 has exposed the global crisis of weak healthcare systems that previously lay under the carpet and forced nations' global attention on strengthening systems to achieve UHC. Kenya, for example, has never suffered any major epidemic, having escaped the SARS, Swine Flu and even the deadly Ebola that ravaged neighboring countries. This is therefore a first and has indeed tested its preparedness for epidemics.

Read the full story, “COVID-19: Lessons from the Losses”, on

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