Day: October 5, 2020

“The Past Few Years Have Been A Slow Decay Of A Free India And Its Body Politic”

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims

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Trump’s Doctor Leans on Health Privacy Law to Duck Questions | Health News


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s doctor leaned on a federal health privacy law Monday to duck certain questions about the president’s treatment for COVID-19, while readily sharing other details of his patient’s condition.

But a leading expert on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act said a more likely reason for Dr. Sean Conley’s selective disclosures appears to be Trump’s comfort level in fully revealing his medical information.

“That’s a little head-scratcher,” said Deven McGraw, a former career government lawyer who oversaw enforcement of the 1996 medical privacy statute. “It’s quite possible the doctor sat down with the president and asked which information is OK to disclose.”

At a press briefing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Conley, the White House physician, reported the president’s blood pressure — a little high at 134/78 — and respiration and heart rates, which were both in the normal ranges.

But when reporters pressed for details on the results of lung scans and when Trump had last tested negative for COVID-19, the doctor demurred, citing HIPAA, as the law is commonly known.

“There is no special protection for lung scans,” McGraw pointed out.

“It really is what the president authorizes to be disclosed,” she explained. “So I am going to have to assume there was a judgment call on what information the president was comfortable releasing to the public.”

The selective disclosure raised more questions about what the president’s doctors aren’t telling the public. Trump returned to the White House later Monday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it’s “disconcerting” that information coming from Trump’s physicians “must be approved by the president.”

Pronounced “hippah,” the law essentially prohibits disclosure of a person’s medical information without their consent. Many people hear about HIPAA when they call the hospital seeking information about the condition of a relative and they’re told they can’t have it because of the law.

”HIPAA kinda precludes me from going into too much depth in things that, you know, I’m not (at) liberty or he doesn’t wish to be discussed,” said Conley, who holds the rank of Navy commander.

McGraw said there’s a question about whether the White House physician may even be covered by HIPAA. The law is written to apply to doctors and entities that bill for insurance coverage.

That said, a president, like any other individual, has the right to control personal medical information, said Iliana Peters, who also served as a career lawyer overseeing HIPAA enforcement at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“As the person who is the subject of the records, (Trump) owns the right to privacy over his medical record and he gets to decide how that information is shared certainly with the public, and certainly wit the media,” said Peters. “That is the case with any one of us as a patient.”

Peters said “there may be multiple things going on here in that certain disclosures have been authorized and others haven’t.”

Speaking on MSNBC, Pelosi argued

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Will Morrison government learn from its Covid success or return to trickle-down economics? | Peter Lewis | Opinion

Reality constantly reminds us that the biggest risk the pandemic poses is to those who think it is less than it seems. From the White House to the safe house, this is a virus that locks on to system weakness and exploits individual arrogance.

The US presidential race is paralysed because one of the candidates believed he had the power to wish it away and let freedom reign, while countries like Sweden that chose to let it run are paying a higher economic cost than those whose governments swung into action.

Closer to home, Victorians have been living the repercussions of the previously unchallenged orthodoxies that you can outsource public safety and transform the care for our oldest and most vulnerable from a public service into a market.

It’s as if the virus is engaging in a real-time critique of the free market ideology that decrees big government is bad, taxes are a burden, caring for others is counterproductive and the market will always determine the best course of action.

As Kurt Anderson has outlined in his excellent new book Evil Geniuses, these assumptions lie at the heart of a political model ruthlessly promoted for the past 50 years by an organised cabal of wealthy industrialists, libertarians and the “useful idiots” they seconded to their cause.

Now, as the world thinks through a recovery to the pandemic’s shock, the Friedman model of trickle-down economics, deregulation and rabid individualism is finally coming under scrutiny.

This context takes centre stage as the Morrison government releases its delayed budget later on Tuesday. Like so much of what this government does, the plan has been broken into so many pre-packaged announce-ables that it’s hard to see a bigger picture. But there is one.

While there is no hiding the fact that the prematurely celebrated budget surplus is history, the levers the government is pulling seem geared to getting the economy back to where it was before the crisis hit. It’s business as usual with a deferred payment plan.

We caught this thinking in the government’s initial response to the forced lockdown: incentives for small businesses to invest in expansion when all they were thinking about was survival; incentives for home renovations when a new pagoda is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

These were textbook Freidman-inspired attempts to bookkeep our way through a downturn, giving business and individuals financial incentives to do things that were against their disposition. Unsurprisingly, they were undersubscribed and fell flat.

It wasn’t until the crisis prompted the government to put money directly into the pockets of those most vulnerable that the strategy began to work. Doubling unemployment support and providing struggling businesses with a Keynesian lifeline may have been anathema, but it got money circulating in a shocked economy.

The big question for today’s budget is: can the government can learn from these successes? Early indications suggest not.

The choices the government is making speak to a desire to go back to the way things were. Tax cuts

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Conservative group sues to block California boardroom diversity law

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A conservative legal group announced Monday that it sued to block California’s first-in-the-nation law that requires hundreds of corporations based in the state to have directors from racial or sexual minorities on their boards.

Judicial Watch claimed in the suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court that the law is unconstitutional.

“The legislation’s requirement that certain corporations appoint a specific number of directors based upon race, ethnicity, sexual preference, and transgender status is immediately suspect and presumptively invalid and triggers strict scrutiny review by the court,” the group said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill last week saying it was crucial to fighting racial injustice by giving minorities “seats at the table” of corporate power.

California already has a law requiring corporations to have at least one female director on their boards. Judicial Watch is also challenging that law in court and a trial is scheduled next summer.

The new measure cited statistics showing few of the 662 public corporations headquartered in California had Blacks or Latinos on their boards.

The measure requires at least two directors from different racial or sexual minority groups be appointed to boards with four to nine directors by the end of 2022. Three directors are required for boards with nine or more directors.

Firms that don’t comply would face fines of $100,00 for first violations and $300,000 for repeated violations.

Those who qualify would self-identify as Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The lawsuit notes that a Senate analysis said the bill draws distinctions based on race and ethnicity, and therefore is “suspect.”

The group said the law is unconstitutional because the quotas don’t achieve a compelling governmental interest that is more narrowly defined than “the existence of general societal discrimination.”

Assemblyman Chris Holden, who coauthored AB 979, said research showed racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups were systematically excluded from corporate boards.

“No surprise!” Holden said in a statement about the lawsuit. “Some would rather maintain a status quo that doesn’t embrace diversity and inclusion.”

The lawsuit seeks to an order declaring it illegal to spend state funds to ensure companies comply with the law and to prevent the law from taking effect.

“California’s government has a penchant for quotas that are brazenly unconstitutional,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Gender quotas and now new quotas for numerous other groups for corporate boards are slaps in the face to the core American value of equal protection under the law.”

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The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz Continues Its Investigation of Precigen, Inc. (PGEN) on Behalf of Investors

The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz continues its investigation of Precigen, Inc. (“Precigen” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: PGEN) on behalf of investors concerning the Company’s possible violations of federal securities laws.

If you are a shareholder who suffered a loss, click here to participate.

On September 25, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a $2.6 million civil penalty against the Company related to its statements about the “purported success converting relatively inexpensive natural gas into more expensive industrial chemicals using a proprietary methane bioconversion (‘MBC’) program.” In its cease-and-desist order, the SEC noted that “Intrexon was primarily using significantly more expensive pure methane for the relevant laboratory experiments but was indicating that the results had been achieved using natural gas.” Though the Company had pitched the program to business partners throughout 2017 and 2018, the SEC pointed out that a “number of the potential partners performed due diligence on the MBC program including reviewing lab results and plans for commercialization[, and] Intrexon has not yet found a partner for the MBC program.”

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If you purchased Precigen securities, have information or would like to learn more about these claims, or have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Frank R. Cruz, of The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz, 1999 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1100, Los Angeles, California 90067 at 310-914-5007, by email to, or visit our website at If you inquire by email please include your mailing address, telephone number, and number of shares purchased.

This press release may be considered Attorney Advertising in some jurisdictions under the applicable law and ethical rules.

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The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz, Los Angeles
Frank R. Cruz, 310-914-5007

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Cineworld’s zero-hours staff face no pay as it confirms UK shutdown

Video: Still the world’s best boss? Five years on, the CEO who set $70,000 minimum pay (France 24)

Still the world’s best boss? Five years on, the CEO who set $70,000 minimum pay



Cineworld workers on zero-hours contracts in the UK could be left without pay beyond Thursday after the cinema chain confirmed it will temporarily close its 127 sites in Britain this week, putting 5,500 jobs at risk.

graphical user interface: Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

The UK’s largest cinema operator declined to say how many of its staff are on zero-hour contracts – which do not guarantee any hours of work – but Cineworld workers contacted by the Guardian said that the majority of employees at the average Cineworld site are employed on zero-hour terms.

Cineworld employees first found out that their jobs were under threat via media reports on Saturday evening. On Monday afternoon employees had not received communication about their pay for the next month, according to workers who asked to remain anonymous because the terms of redundancy had not been settled.

Cineworld’s cinemas are generally run by a small team of salaried managers and a larger group of workers whose contracts give them no guaranteed hours of

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Dr. Fauci emails that “society is really totally nuts” for thinking he’s hot

Dr. Anthony Fauci feeling like all of us

Dr. Anthony Fauci feeling like all of us
Photo: Joshua Roberts (Getty Images)

In an effort to do some Important Journalism, reporters have requested Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails through the Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. For 2020 reasons, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sevices attempted to push off some of those requests until after the election. But a federal judge recently ordered HHS to begin producing thousands pages of potentially responsive records from Fauci other officials about the World Health Organization, China, and the coronavirus. Much of that content will be trickling out about 300 pages per month beginning on Oct. 21, though a few other requests for Fauci emails have been granted. One such request filed by Buzzfeed News’ Jason Leopold resulted in this gem of a correspondence from Fauci to an unknown recipient: “Click on the ‘Cuomo Crush’ and ‘Fauci Fever’ link below. It will blow your mind. Our society is really totally nuts.”

While it sounds like a spam email, the note is actually a forward of Facui’s Google alert set to send him any headlines containing the words “Fauci AND Tony OR Anthony.” And the story that led him to think we’re nuts is this article from titled “‘Cuomo Crush’ and ‘Fauci Fever’ — Sexualization Of These Men Is a Real Thing on The Internet.” And while we hadn’t heard of the #CuomoCrush, this story from Samantha Agate is full of examples from social media of people using those hashtags to profess their love Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo and his brother Chris Cuomo.

Though Fauci’s email seems to expresses his incredulity at the idea he’s become a sex symbol, perhaps the doctor doth protest too much. He did, after all, suggest Brad Pitt play him on Saturday Night Live. Sometimes wishes do come true, Anthony…or should we call you Tony?

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Split EU Lawmakers Rap Bulgaria on Rule-Of-Law Failings | World News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament turned up the heat on Bulgaria on Monday as lawmakers debated a resolution that highlights flaws by the EU’s poorest member in respecting the rule of law, combating endemic corruption and supporting media freedom.

A vote is expected later this week on the resolution that challenges Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s governance after almost three months of anti-graft protests in Bulgaria that seek his resignation.

Thousands of Bulgarians have been rallying daily since July, accusing three-times premier Borissov of eroding democratic rules and allowing corrupt practices that support oligarchs and businesses close to his centre-right GERB party.

In a heated debate, lawmakers from the socialist party family, as well as the Greens and liberals slammed Bulgaria’s government for backsliding on democratic values and abuse of EU funds.

MEPs from the centre-right group EPP, to which Borissov’s own party belongs, defended Borissov as a pro-European leader.

Bulgaria ranks as the bloc’s most corrupt member state according to Transparency International’s index. The country has dropped to 111th position in terms of media freedom from 51st in 2007, when it joined the EU, according to Reporters Without Borders.    

“Bulgarian citizens will deal with their government, but we need to stop feeding the vampires that are sucking the life blood out these wonderful people,” said Clare Daly from the group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left.

EPP chair Manfred Weber said the protests showed that democracy works in Bulgaria. Borissov has refused to step down and on Monday Weber said protesters could have their say at an election scheduled for next March.

A European Parliament resolution rapping Bulgaria for shortcomings in respecting the rule of law would have no practical consequences except political embarrassment for Borissov. But it would also be a signal that Brussels is not turning a blind eye.

Unlike Hungary and Poland, Bulgaria has managed to avoid a formal EU process checking if rule-of-law is observed, by promising changes and setting up bodies to combat graft and overhaul the judiciary, while dragging its feet on delivering results.

Last week the European Commission, in a milder tone, criticised Bulgaria’s shortcomings on courts’ independence and the lack of senior officials jailed on corruption charges in its first report on rule of law in the EU.

Speaking on Monday, the EU’s top democracy official, Commissioner Vera Jourova said the EU Commission would press ahead in monitoring Bulgaria until it sees tangible results in fighting corruption and overhauling of the judiciary.

“There is still unfinished business. And we want to see the job done,” she said.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova in Sofia and Jan Strupczewski in Brussels; editing by Richard Pullin)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Trump’s recklessness with COVID stalls government

Since the earliest warning signs that the coronavirus could become a catastrophic pandemic, President Trump has refused to take it seriously. In fact, Trump and his Republican colleagues have gone such great lengths to ignore public health protocols that the president of the United States — ostensibly the most shielded human being on the planet — managed to contract the virus along with several other top government officials, including three United States senators. And now, after so gravely mishandling the pandemic that has killed over 210,000 Americans, the president and his party have effectively brought the federal government to a halt through their own reckless personal behavior, leaving two branches of government compromised while the nation and the world deal with several crises of unprecedented scale.

Even as Trump planned to leave the hospital Monday evening, it was clear he was dealing with serious symptoms of COVID-19, as evidenced by the medications prescribed to him. As of now, the president’s health might still be posing a national security risk. He is on a medication known to have serious behavioral side effects, and experts are warning that foreign adversaries might exploit this moment. Russia, for example, could use his condition to further spread misinformation as part of its election interference strategy, and countries like China could see this as an opportunity to advance regional claims. But the president and his team have yet to take this problem seriously. Though Trump himself is probably unable to perform all the duties of the presidency while he deals with the deadly disease, he so far appears unwilling to make plans to temporarily transfer his powers to the vice president should he fall more seriously ill.

For his part, Mike Pence — who is continuing to travel and host campaign events — is not taking the precautionary measures necessary to keep himself safe from the coronavirus, casting doubt on whether he will be able to assume the presidency if required. In effect, the executive branch is on the brink of calamitous dysfunction, and the only response on the president’s part so far is simply to hope for the best.

Congress is also facing its challenges as a result of Trump’s utter disregard for public health protocols. After three Republican senators tested positive for COVID-19 — possibly from what may have been a super-spreader event at the White House — Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was left with little choice but to postpone any legislative activity for at least two weeks, leaving the legislative branch unable to deal with the pandemic or economic crisis. This postponement comes in the midst of negotiations for the next coronavirus relief package, which Americans desperately need. Every day that passes without federal action leaves more Americans vulnerable either to contracting the virus or falling into poverty — or, as has unfortunately been the case so far, both.

And yet, despite all this chaos, uncertainty, and violation of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, McConnell is still trying

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Courts Shouldn’t Change Election Law Now

Poll workers inspect absentee mail-in ballots in Racine, Wisconsin, Aug. 11.


Sue Dorfman/Zuma Press

Your editorial “Will a ‘Blue Shift’ Swing Wisconsin?” (Sept. 23) notes that state laws are contravened by court decisions in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that extend deadlines for counting mail-in ballots. “This increases the chances of post-election litigation.” Indeed. They apparently go against Bush v. Gore, which closed out the 2000 election. This controversial case was preceded by Bush v. Palm Beach, which unanimously vacated a recount decision by Florida’s Supreme Court because its constitutional basis was unclear.

In Bush v. Gore, there were two rulings. First, the Supreme Court stopped the recount. “There are constitutional problems with the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court that demand a remedy.” Specifically, counting in different counties used different standards, violating the Equal Protection Clause. This ruling was 7-2, Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer dissenting. This decision is regularly and mistakenly reported as 5-4.

The Supreme Court did indeed rule 5-4—against Justice Breyer’s proposed remedy: an extension of the counting deadline from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, to allow a constitutionally proper recount (dissenting: Justices Souter and Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Dec. 18 was the date for the Electoral College to meet. The recount limit set by law was Dec. 12; it was also the date of the court’s decision. It would be senseless to allow a proper recount without extending the deadline. The court ruled that an extension of the deadline would be a “violation of the Florida Election Code.”

To the Supreme Court: Please rule on the Pennsylvania legislature’s appeal. The rules are much less important than for people to know what they are before the election.

Paul Wonnacott

Potomac, Md.

Mr. Wonnacott was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers 1991-93.

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