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7/22/17

US Opioid Crisis: How The US Can Contain And Reverse The Epidemic-by Denisse Moreno

While President Trump’s national opioid commission, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, failed to meet its second deadline last week, a report released this month recommends various measures federal, state and local officials should take to tackle the epidemic.

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said it will take years of “sustained and coordinated efforts” to “contain and reverse the harmful societal effects of the prescription and illicit opioid epidemics,” which go hand-in-hand and continue to spiral.

Read: More Than Half Of US Opioid Prescriptions Go To People With Mental Disorders, Researchers Find

About 90 people in the U.S. die of an opioid-related overdose every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of 2015, at least 2 million people across the nation have an opioid addiction, while nearly 600,00 have an opioid use disorder involving heroin. The number of opioid-related overdose fatalities, which includes prescription opioids (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone) and heroin, has quadrupled since 1999. At the same time, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled since that year.

Read more: Opioid Crisis: How The US Can Contain And Reverse The Epidemic

EU Citizenship Has Its Obligations: ′You belong here,′ Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel tells Germany′s Turks

Less than 48 hours after announcing a major shift in policy towards Turkey, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Saturday sought to calm fears among Turkish nationals living in Germany that they are not targets in an ongoing political row.

Gabriel penned an open letter, published in German and Turkish in the mass circulation newspaper Bild, where he called the friendship between Germans and the estimated 3 million Turks living in the country a "great treasure."

His message followed a further week of wrangling between the two countries following the jailing by a court in Istanbul of several human rights activists - including German national Peter Steudtner - accused of what Germany says are the trumped-up charges of being linked to a terrorist organization.

Note EU=Digest: Very true.This also goes for immigrants to any country in the world. You can't have your cake and eat it too! In case you do prefer your home country over the one where you immigrated to, nothing stops you to go back from where you came. It must also be noted that Governments of  former citizens, who immigrated to other countries, and became citizens there, also have no right to claim authority or any rights over these former citizens.  

Read more: ′You belong here,′ Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel tells Germany′s Turks | News | DW | 22.07.2017

EU - Polish relations: Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU - by Eric Maurice

The Polish parliament adopted a controversial reform of the Supreme Court on Thursday (20 July), stepping up a showdown with the EU.

The law, which puts the Supreme Court under government control, was passed with 235 votes against 192 and 23 abstentions, just a day after the European Commission had called on Polish authorities to suspend the bill or face a rule of law procedure that could lead to sanctions.

"We are coming very close to triggering Article 7," the EU executive vice president Frans Timmermans warned on Wednesday, referring to a rule of law procedure.

The vote led the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister, to publish a statement calling for a solution to a "very serious situation".

Tusk said that he proposed a meeting with Polish president Andrej Duda to try to avoid "bleak outcomes which could ultimately lead to the marginalisation of Poland in Europe."
He said that the reforms carried out by the Polish government were a "dangerous tendency".

Read more: Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU

7/21/17

GMO Agenda Takes An Alarming Step Forward. US EPA Just Quietly Approved Monsanto/Dow’s RNAi Corn – by A.Erickson

Varying opinions on the rise and prominence of GMOs has led to a lot of controversy. Many people, regardless of their stance, still feel entitled to know what they’re consuming, and if it’s the product of laboratory research.

vSnf7 dsRNA is an insecticide, but unlike others, it’s not sprayed on crops. To use it, you encode instructions for manufacturing it in the DNA of the crop itself. So, for instance, if a Western corn rootworm begins destroying your crop, the plant’s self-made DvSnf7 dsRNA interferes with a critical rootworm gene and kills the pesky bugger.

This disruption is referred to as RNA interference, or RNAi. Haven’t heard of it? That’s because it was just approved. Didn’t hear that news? That’s because mainstream media remained silent, allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to recently approve the first insecticide relying on it.

The first DvSnf7 dsRNA product will come in the form of SmartStax Pro, a line of genetically modified corn seeds created by Monsanto and Dow. The RNAi part comes from Monsanto. The agricultural giant anticipates corn seed with RNAi coming to the market by the end of this decade.

The Western corn rootworm has proved quite resilient, with corn farmers continuously investing in new ways to stop it from damaging their cornfields. When spray-on pesticides failed, farmers took advantage of corn genetically modified to make the Bt toxin, a technology also from Monsanto, which also didn’t work as hoped for. Now, the farmers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of SmartStax Pro, which will have both Bt as well as DvSnf7 dsRNA.

Read more: The GMO Agenda Takes An Alarming Step Forward. The EPA Just Quietly Approved Monsanto/Dow’s RNAi Corn – Collective Evolution

Turkish Tourist Industry Hit Again: Turkey and Greece hit by strong earthquake: - by Helena Smith

Two people were killed, 200 injured and five seriously injured on the Greek island of Kos after an earthquake hit tourist destinations around the Aegean sea in the early hours of Friday.

At least 70 people were injured in Bodrum.Turkey.

The magnitude 6.7 quake injured a further 200 people in Greek and Turkish coastal towns.

The damage was, however, much less than could have been expected for an earthquake of its size. The United States Geological Survey said it was a very shallow quake – only 6 miles (10km) below the seabed – off the south-western coastal city of Marmaris in Mu─čla province, Turkey.

The epicentre was just 6 miles south of the Turkish resort of Bodrum and 10 miles from Kos.

Read  more: Turkey and Greece hit by strong earthquake: two dead and 200 injured – as it happened | World news | The Guardian

Steel Industry: EU proposes duties on Brazil, Iran, Russia, Ukraine steel

The European Union is planning to impose duties of up to 33 percent on hot-rolled steel imports from Brazil, Iran, Russia and Ukraine to counter what it sees as unfairly low prices, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The EU has over 40 anti-dumping measures to aid European steel producers, mostly aimed at China. 

In June, the bloc set duties of up to 35.9 percent on Chinese hot-rolled steel, prompting an angry response from Beijing. 

Steel is the second biggest industry in the world after oil and gas and the EU's attention has recently shifted as barriers aimed at cheap Chinese imports have an impact.

Read more: EU proposes duties on Brazil, Iran, Russia, Ukraine steel

Britain Return To The Fold: 9 ways Britain could stay in the European Union

While undoing Brexit altogether looks almost as unlikely today as it did in the immediate aftermath of the referendum last year, those who think Britain might be better off staying in the European Union are becoming more vocal as the complexities and potential costs of Brexit become clearer.

Vince Cable — who was crowned leader of the Liberal Democrats unopposed Thursday — has never supported leaving the bloc and is “beginning to think Brexit may never happen.” Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair last weekend suggested the U.K. could stay in a reformed European Union. Even the director of the Vote Leave campaign, Dominic Cummings, admitted on Twitter this week that there are “some possible branches of the future” in which “leaving will be an error.”

Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister and European Council president, put it more poetically last month. “You may say I am a dreamer. But I am not the only one,” he said, channelling John Lennon.

In Westminster, anti-Brexit dreamers are scarce but POLITICO spoke to some of those who believe Brexit could yet be halted. The political odds might be stacked against them, but then very few correctly predicted the referendum vote in the first place.

Here are nine scenarios in which Britain stays in the European Union:
1. Public opinion changes

Remainers have been heartened by a number of polls since the June 8 election which have suggested an uptick in support for staying in the European Union, including one by Survation that found 54 percent of Brits would now prefer to remain in the bloc.

However Joe Twyman, head of political and social research at YouGov, which has been monitoring public opinion since the referendum, said the shifts in views had been too small to point of a definitive change of heart. He said the country was still divided down the middle, much as it was in the referendum vote itself but added that “things could change massively.”

“It is almost certain that as things do actually start to occur then there could be a movement in one way or another. People could say ‘this is working out really well, yay us.’ And so support for Brexit rises significantly. The opposite could be true if things go wrong.”

The main political parties are all monitoring the situation through private polling, according to Twyman. The “smart ones” understand the fluid nature of [public opinion] and are aware that polls could change significantly.

Read more: 9 ways Britain could stay in the European Union – POLITICO

Brext: No solution in sight for Brexit’s controversial issues – by Jorge Valero

During a second sitting around the negotiating table, the EU and the UK stuck to their guns on the financial obligations London should pay and what court would guarantee EU citizen rights in a post-Brexit world.

Following a first encounter last month, the negotiating teams led by Michel Barnier, on the EU side, and David Davis, on the British side, concluded on Thrusday (20 July) a four-day round of talks to set the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU.

But the negotiations barely managed to spot areas of disagreement that have already been identified.

As expected, the financial settlement London must cover and the European Court of Justice’s role in ensuring citizen rights were the most controversial issues.

But both sides could not even start sketching out the bare bones of a compromise as Britain came to Brussels empty handed.

Read more: No solution in sight for Brexit’s controversial issues – EURACTIV.com

German French Relations: Schulz to Macron: Forget Merkel, I’m your man

Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat candidate for chancellor in Germany’s election this fall, paid a visit to Paris with a message for French President Emmanuel Macron: I’d be a better partner than Angela Merkel.

In a speech at Sciences Po university on Thursday, the former European Parliament president called for a “new political departure, an impetus for the future.”

“Germany and France — not alone, but of course with other partners — should be that impetus,“ Schulz said. “And I am addressing the French president directly.“

“After the presidential election in France and the Bundestag election in Germany in the autumn, there is a time window that must be used,” he added, offering his support for a series of EU reforms proposed by Macron.

Read more: Schulz to Macron: Forget Merkel, I’m your man – POLITICO

7/20/17

Cybersecurity: Russia in talks with US to create cybersecurity working group: says Russian Press Agency

Moscow and Washington are in talks to create a joint cyber security working group, Russia's RIA news agency reported on Thursday, citing Andrey Krutskikh, a special presidential envoy on cybersecurity.

U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month he had discussed the idea of creating such a group with President Vladimir Putin at a summit of the Group of 20 nations in Hamburg, Germany.

But the idea was greeted with incredulity by some senior Republicans who said Moscow could not be trusted - and the U.S. president later tweeted that he did not think it could happen.

"The talks are underway ... different proposals are being exchanged, nobody denies the necessity of holding the talks and of having such contacts," Krutskikh said, according to RIA. Svetlana Lukash, a Russian official who was at the Hamburg summit, said earlier this month that the two presidents had agreed to discuss cyber security questions, either via the United Nations or as part of a working group.

To read more click here

Poland: Rule of Law in Jeopardy: Polish parliament approves controversial Supreme Court bill

Poland’s lower house of parliament adopted on Thursday (20 July) a controversial Supreme Court bill, setting the country further on collision course with Brussels, which has accused it of undermining the basic principles of the rule of law.

The Sejm passed the bill — which the European Commission, legal experts and the Polish opposition say will abolish the judiciary’s independence — with the vote of 235 deputies. Against were 192 deputies and 23 abstained.

The European Commission will meet next week to decide whether to activate Article 7 against Poland — a last-resort measure to rein in member states seen as violating the basic human rights and the rule of law. If approved, Poland could temporarily be stripped of its voting rights in the European Council.

Read more: Polish parliament approves controversial Supreme Court bill – EURACTIV.com

Germany Turkish Relations: Germany says EU aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests

Germany raised the possibility on Wednesday (19 July) of suspending European Union aid payments to Turkey after summoning Ankara’s ambassador to Berlin to protest over the arrest of six human rights activists including a German citizen.

The moves mark a further escalation of tensions between NATO allies Germany and Turkey, who are at loggerheads over a wide range of issues.

This month, Turkey arrested rights activists including Amnesty International’s Turkey head Idil Eser and German citizen Peter Steudtner on terrorism charges, which Berlin has labelled “absurd”.

Read more: Germany says EU aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests – EURACTIV.com