German trade surplus slips as exports fall

April 9, 2014 by  
Filed under General News

German trade surplus slips as exports fall (via AFP)

Germany’s powerful trade surplus shrank in February from the January level after exports fell amid an uncertain economic environment, but imports continued to grow, data showed on Wednesday. Europe’s top economy posted a trade surplus of 15.7 billion…


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Epilepsy Foundation Calls for Increased Medical Marijuana Access and Research

February 22, 2014 by  
Filed under 420 news

source:epilepsy.com

As parents and as advocates, we feel an urgency to respond and take action on an issue that has been brought to the Epilepsy Foundation from individuals we serve across the country– the use of marijuana to treat epilepsy.  We write this with advice and support from Nathan Fountain, Chairman of our Professional Advisory Board, and with advice and support from a range of other leading epilepsy professionals and board members.

2.3 million Americans live with epilepsy, a neurological condition that includes recurring seizures. More than 1 million of them live with uncontrolled seizures. Some of these people may be helped by surgery or other non-drug treatments, but for many, no answers have been found yet. People with uncontrolled seizures live with the continual risk of serious injuries and loss of life.

The Epilepsy Foundation supports the rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana. Nothing should stand in the way of patients gaining access to potentially life-saving treatment. If a patient and their healthcare professionals feel that the potential benefits of medical marijuana for uncontrolled epilepsy outweigh the risks, then families need to have that legal option now — not in five years or ten years. For people living with severe uncontrolled epilepsy, time is not on their side. This is a very important, difficult, and personal decision that should be made by a patient and family working with their healthcare team.

Treatments for epilepsy with any form of marijuana come with risks, as there is much that is not known about its effects. The consistency of available formulations also needs to be addressed. Caution is appropriate, and we strongly recommend that patients with uncontrolled seizures seek out an epilepsy specialist. However, existing therapies have real side-effects both known and unknown, and, just as there are risks with any treatment, every day without seizure control is a risk to life. Every seizure is a possible opportunity lost to live, learn, and grow.

The Epilepsy Foundation calls for an end to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) restrictions that limit clinical trials and research into medical marijuana for epilepsy. We applaud recent decisions that have allowed clinical trials of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, to begin in several states. Certain components of medical marijuana, including CBD, have shown effectiveness in animal studies, and there have been encouraging anecdotal reports from patients. But further research and unbiased clinical trials are needed to establish whether and in what forms medical marijuana is or is not effective and safe. Restrictions on the use of medical marijuana continue to stand in the way of this research.

The Epilepsy Foundation believes that an end to seizures should not be determined by one’s zip code. Our current situation as an epilepsy community is not acceptable. Families looking to access medical marijuana as a treatment are facing terrible decisions. One parent may move across the country to live with a child to seek this treatment. Other families may uproot entirely, including leaving their job, to move where they can access CBD oil. In the past, when therapies not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were available abroad and left only to those who could afford to travel, we fought for compassionate access. We are here to continue the fight.

The Epilepsy Foundation will be doing the following to support improved access and research into medical marijuana:

  1. Calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to implement a lesser schedule for marijuana so that it can be more easily accessible for medical research.
  2. Supporting appropriate changes to state laws to increase access to medical marijuana as a treatment option for epilepsy, including pediatric use as supported by a treating physician.
  3. Supporting the inclusion of epilepsy as a condition that uses medical marijuana as a treatment option where it is currently available.
  4. Supporting research on multiple forms of cannabis and seizures.

What can you do to help? Advocate for increased access and for the freedom to conduct medical research on a potentially effective treatment against seizures and epilepsy. Join with us at http://capwiz.com/efa/mlm/signup.

Here’s Our Story:

As the President & CEO and as the Chair of the Board of the Epilepsy Foundation, we are privileged to lead a nationwide network of caring volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to improve lives of individuals living with epilepsy.
We are also fathers of individuals living with epilepsy.  Phil’s son has had thousands of seizures in his life and has endured two brain surgeries to stop his seizures. Warren’s daughter has a genetic form of epilepsy that is marked by severe seizures and, despite an implanted medical device and three different epilepsy medicines, endures daily waves of seizures.
Some individuals, specifically families of children with uncontrolled seizures, are using what is called cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, and anecdotally a few are seeing remarkable results.  This is truly spectacular — anytime someone finds a treatment that stops seizures, there is cause for celebration because seizure freedom for one person means hope of seizure freedom for others.
There is still a lot we don’t know about the medical use of marijuana for epilepsy.  Until clinical trials are completed, doctors and patients will not know whether medical marijuana or CBD will on balance harm someone or help someone with epilepsy.  We are advocating for the rights of patients and families to determine with their doctor if this is an appropriate therapy for them, but we recognize the unknowns and the difficulty of this decision for an individual patient.
There is an obvious and urgent need for research. The Epilepsy Foundation is proud that we are currently funding an important research study to learn more about the effect of a form of cannabis on individuals living with uncontrolled epilepsy.
As fathers, we know the pain of watching our children experience uncontrolled seizures.
We know how epilepsy impacts development in children for whom no available current treatment has been successful.
We know about the dangers that can occur when families are forced to leave medical systems and physicians they know to move to other states.
We know seizures not only affect the individual enduring seizures, it also impacts siblings, parents, grandparents, kids and grandchildren, other loved ones and friends.
We know the difference between having recurring seizures and not having seizures can mean the difference between life and death.
Warren’s daughter is fortunate to be enrolled in a clinical trial of CBD. We do not know if this will help Sylvie but know the cost of her unrelenting seizures. Weighing the issue with her doctor, we decided the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Other parents and other individuals living with potentially devastating seizures should have the same opportunity to make that determination.
If an epilepsy patient and their doctor feel that marijuana is their best treatment option then they need to have safe, legal access to medical marijuana and they need that access now.

Commentary Medical Marijuana: We Need Proof and Compassion Orrin Devinsky, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Director, NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Member of Epilepsy Foundation National Board of Directors

There is an enormous unmet need for better treatments for children and adults with epilepsy.  Approximately one-third of people with epilepsy continue to suffer from seizures despite the best medical, dietary, and surgical therapies.  For those with treatment-resistant epilepsy, the enormous toll includes the direct and potentially deadly consequences of the seizures, which are compounded by the disabling physical, cognitive and behavioral side effects from high doses of multiple antiepileptic drugs.  Despite advances in epilepsy therapy over the past decades, our progress remains painfully slow and disappointing.  Medical care and research fails many patients.  The statement by Phil Gattone and Warren Lammert of the Epilepsy Foundation strongly advocates that there should be legal access for all epilepsy patients and their doctors who feel that marijuana is their best treatment option.  I agree.

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, my colleague Daniel Friedman and I emphasized 1) the need for randomized controlled trials, considered the gold standard for clinical trials, to better understand the safety and effectiveness of any drug or combination  of drugs – whether derived from a marijuana plant or synthesized in a lab, 2) the need for changes in how the Drug Enforcement Agency classifies marijuana and its constituents as Schedule 1 drugs.  This is much too restrictive based on the scientific data,  especially for cannabidiol (CBD) – the major non-psychoactive component of marijuana, and 3) while we await scientific studies, that marijuana products be made available to pediatric and adult patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Charlotte Figi, who has brought this story to the forefront, suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a genetic disorder that often causes severe epilepsy.  Medical marijuana, high in CBD and low in THC, has been reported to cause a dramatic reduction in her seizures and eliminate her need for seizure medications.  Caring for epilepsy patients for 25 years, I have seen firsthand the devastation that uncontrolled epilepsy can bring.  In the last 2 years, two of my patients with Dravet Syndrome died from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Data from animal studies showing CBD and THC can stop seizures, stories like Charlotte’s, and the tremendous unmet need led me to organize the first international symposium on cannabidiol for epilepsy at NYU in October 2013, to provide testimony for compassionate use for marijuana to several state legislatures, and to work as a researcher (without consulting fees or salary support) to assess CBD as an epilepsy therapy.  For our initial study for 25 pediatric and young adult patients, we have received inquiries from more than 500 families and patients.

We stand at an unusual inflection point where families are demanding access to a medication that may or may not be beneficial, and for which the side effects may be less than many medications prescribed by doctors; the medical community lacks convincing efficacy or safety data for children with epilepsy; and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s overly conservative scheduling of marijuana hamstrings research and access.  Yet there should be caution for both expectations and potential side effects. Humility is essential in  trying to understand something for which we lack solid evidence.  Both doctors and patients are equally biased and the greater the expectation, the greater the potential for bias.  We urgently need data from randomized controlled trials where the biases of companies, doctors, patients, and parents are meticulously removed.

We need to make a balanced decision about compassionate use.  If I were Charlotte Figi’s parents and lived in Colorado I would have done exactly what they did. And as a doctor, I would gladly prescribe marijuana products for many of my patients who failed existing therapies if it were legal in my state. Trying marijuana or related compounds should be regarded like any other experimental treatment – a shared decision between patient/parent and doctor, that takes into account the severity of disease, risk and benefits  of treatment, and existence of alternate treatment options, all guided by the principle of “first do no harm”. Until we have the scientific data, we should make medical marijuana available to physicians who care for people with treatment-resistant epilepsy and their patients.

###

About Epilepsy When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they have epilepsy, which affects more than 2 million people in the United States and 65 million people worldwide.  This year, another 150,000 people in our country will be diagnosed with epilepsy.  Despite all available treatments, four out of 10 people with epilepsy continue to experience uncontrolled seizures while many more experience less than optimal seizure control.

About the Epilepsy Foundation The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with 47 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968.  The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures.  The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies.  The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsy.com.

“Like” the Epilepsy Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

MEDIA CONTACT:   Kenneth Lowenberg Vice President of Communications and Digital Strategy 301-918-3773 klowenberg@efa.org

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Globalists Unveil Socialist-backed New World Tax Regime

February 18, 2014 by  
Filed under General News

source:thenewamerican

As various tax-funded international institutions explicitly outline plans to plunder humanity’s wealth to prop up governments drowning in odious debts, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) last week officially unveiled a new socialist-backed plot to create a global tax information-sharing regime to ensure that nobody except the establishment escapes the upcoming fleecing. Under the proposed scheme, admittedly inspired by “FATCA,” the Obama administration’s latest addition to the sprawling U.S. tax regime, governments and dictatorships worldwide will automatically share all private financial data on citizens with each other to extract as much wealth as possible from the public.

Calling its scheme to put the final nail in the coffin for financial privacy “game changing,” the tax-funded OECD said it would require governments to collect massive amounts of sensitive personal information on individuals from banks and other financial institutions in their jurisdictions. Once gathered, the vast troves of private data would be automatically exchanged between all participating governments and dictatorships. “You collect the data, you put it in the pipe and it goes to the other party,” said OECD tax policy boss Pascal Saint-Amans, who pays no taxes on his bloated tax-funded salary.

Over 40 governments, which the Paris-based OECD misleadingly refers to as “countries,” have already committed to adopt the controversial scheme. In a “joint statement,” participating governments celebrated the plot, which they believe will help extract more revenue from the public. “Tax evasion is a global problem and requires a global solution,” said representatives from dozens of governments, including more than a few run by self-described socialists. “We therefore strongly support the development of the single global standard for automatic exchange of information between tax authorities.”

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If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination

February 17, 2014 by  
Filed under General News

source : alternet

February 12, 2014  |

President Obama is now considering whether to order the Central Intelligence Agency to kill a U.S. citizen in Pakistan. That’s big news this week. But hidden in plain sight is the fact that Amazon would be an accessory to the assassination.

Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA to provide the agency with “cloud” computing services. After final confirmation of the deal several months ago, Amazon declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

The relationship means that Amazon — logoed with a smiley-face arrow from A to Z, selling products to millions of people every week — is responsible for keeping the CIA’s secrets and aggregating data to help the agency do its work. Including drone strikes.

Drone attacks in Pakistan are “an entirely CIA operation,” New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti said Tuesday night in an  interview on the PBS NewsHour. He added that “the Pakistani government will not allow the [U.S.] military to take over the mission because they want to still have the sort of veneer of secrecy that the CIA provides.”

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Number of officers who left Army over misconduct tripled in past 3 years

February 16, 2014 by  
Filed under General News

The number of U.S. soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years as the military emerges from a decade of war that put a greater focus on battle competence than on character, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Data shows that the number of officers who left the Army due to misconduct more than tripled in the past three years. The number of enlisted soldiers forced out for drugs, alcohol, crimes and other misconduct shot up from about 5,600 in 2007, as the Iraq war peaked, to more than 11,000 last year.

The data reveals stark differences between the military services and underscores the strains that long, repeated deployments to the front lines have had on the Army’s soldiers and their leaders.

It also reflects the Army’s rapid growth in the middle part of the decade, and the decisions to relax standards a bit to bring in and retain tens of thousands of soldiers to fill the ranks as the Pentagon added troops in Iraq and continued the fight in Afghanistan.

The Army grew to a peak of about 570,000 soldiers during the height of the wars, and soldiers represented the bulk of the troops on the battlefields compared with the other services.

“I wouldn’t say lack of character was tolerated in (war) theater, but the fact of the last 10 or 12 years of repeated deployments, of the high op-tempo – we might have lost focus on this issue,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s top officer, told the AP last week. “Sometimes in the past we’ve overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment.”

Trend not due to wars

His comments mirror concerns aired by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, several times in recent months. The ethical lapses, Dempsey said, can be attributed in some ways to 10 years at war when the military failed to properly balance character and competence.

“It is not the war that has caused this,” Dempsey said. “It is the pace, and our failure to understand that at that pace, we were neglecting the tools that manage us as a profession over time.”

Over the past year, a series of high profile scandals – from sexual assault and damaging leadership to mistreatment of the enemy and unauthorized spending – has dogged the military, leading to broad ethics reviews and new personnel policies.

Those scandals included the demotion of Army Gen. William “Kip” Ward for lavish, unauthorized spending; sexual misconduct charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair; and episodes of gambling and drinking by other general officers.

More recently, there have been cheating allegations against Air Force nuclear missile launch officers and a massive bribery case in California that has implicated six Navy officers. Examples of troop misconduct include Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters and soldiers posing with body parts of Afghan militants.

As a result, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other leaders say ethics is a priority about which they now routinely lecture troops and officers. They also have undertaken initiatives aimed at identifying and dealing with problem service members.

“We’re paying a lot more attention to it now. We are not tolerant at all of those showing a lack of character,” Odierno said. “We have to refocus ourselves so we get to where we think is the right place.”

read more@http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/15/number-of-soldiersforcedouttripledoverlastthreeyears.html

February 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

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<script src=”https://1.rp-api.com/rjs/repost-article.js?3″ type=”text/javascript” data-cfasync=”false”></script><a href=”http://s.tt/1XZjm” rel=”norewrite”><img src=”//img.1.rp-api.com/thumb/10260847″ style=”float:left;margin-right:10px;” /></a><a href=”http://s.tt/1XZjm” rel=”norewrite”><strong>General Dynamics gets $10 billion Saudi arms order</strong></a> (via <a href=”http://s.tt/1XZjm” rel=”norewrite”>AFP</a>)<p>
The Canadian subsidiary of US arms maker General Dynamics has won a $10 billion order for armored vehicles for Saudi Arabia, Canada’s Trade Minister Ed Fast announced Friday. The deal comes as Saudi Arabia is accumulating weapons at a rapid pace and&hellip;
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February 15, 2014 by  
Filed under General News

Editors note:REALLY??
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<script src=”https://1.rp-api.com/rjs/repost-article.js?3″ type=”text/javascript” data-cfasync=”false”></script><a href=”http://s.tt/1XTz3″ rel=”norewrite”><img src=”//img.1.rp-api.com/thumb/10238640″ style=”float:left;margin-right:10px;” /></a><a href=”http://s.tt/1XTz3″ rel=”norewrite”><strong>US agonizes over Syria but sees no new options</strong></a> (via <a href=”http://s.tt/1XTz3″ rel=”norewrite”>AFP</a>)<p>
The United States admits the situation in “crumbling” Syria is an “apocalyptic disaster” — implicitly accepting that its policy toward the war-tormented country is not working — but no better one is on the horizon. The Obama administration is sticking&hellip;
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‘Qaeda’ Yemen rampage kills 56 soldiers and police

September 20, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

‘Qaeda’ Yemen rampage kills 56 soldiers and police (via AFP)

Suspected Al-Qaeda fighters killed at least 54 soldiers and police in a wave of dawn attacks Friday, the deadliest day for Yemeni security forces since jihadist strongholds fell last year. The militant assaults came in the lawless southern province…


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US Navy Yard shooting: Live Report

September 16, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

US Navy Yard shooting: Live Report (via AFP)

1709 GMT: Schools in the area are still on lockdown. Parents from one, eight blocks from the Navy Yard, were told their children were being held inside with the doors and windows locked. “If we do not feel the situation has been cleared by dismissal…


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D.C. Navy Yard Shooting: Gunman Believed on the Loose

September 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Video

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<script src=”https://1.rp-api.com/rjs/repost-article.js?3” type=”text/javascript” data-cfasync=”false”></script><a href=”http://s.tt/1LrBK” rel=”norewrite”><img src=”//img.1.rp-api.com/thumb/7256066″ style=”float:left;margin-right:10px;” /></a><a href=”http://s.tt/1LrBK” rel=”norewrite”><strong>D.C. Navy Yard Shooting: Gunman Believed on the Loose</strong></a> (via <a href=”http://s.tt/1LrBK” rel=”norewrite”>Repost Video News</a>)<p>
One Washington D.C. police officer and several other people have been shot at the U.S. Navy Yard.
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