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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: The Three Pillars Of Christian Economics – OpEd


Detail of Creation of Adam, fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

By Rev. Ben Johnson*

Could economics, which academics long ago deemed “the dismal science,” have a specifically Christian application? If so, what are the unique features of a Christian approach to economics?

Edd S. Noell of Westmont College and Stephen L. S. Smith of Hope College expertly answer this question in a recent study published in Christian Scholars Review titled “Economics, Theology, and a Case for Economic Growth: An Assessment of Recent Critiques.” (The authors gratefully acknowledged the financial support of their current colleges, Smith’s former institution of Gordon College, “and of a 2014 Acton Institute Mini-Grant.”)

The article aims to begin “a comprehensive treatment of the economic and moral case for growth that responds to modern moral and Christian theological objections.” The authors defend GDP growth from common religious objections, including charges that the free market causes environmental degradation and hyperstimulates greed. “A number of largely overlooked dimensions of these notions distinguish the Christian case for economic growth from secular claims,” they write. While Milton Friedman pointed out broader social toleration and Paul Collier said low growth fueled political instability in the developing world, Noell and Smith discuss three closely related elements that define a uniquely Christian view of economics – and which underscore the importance of economic growth:

1. Creativity and work. God the Creator tasked human beings with labor even in the Garden of Eden. This work allows us to refine, purify, and fructify His handiwork. While this does not make human beings co-creators – for only God created all things ex nihilo – it gives us a canvas on which to display the creativity God implanted inside all His children. “Humans are to represent God’s rule over the world by being God’s vice-regents. They do so in acting creatively – as God was and is creative – and their labor and rest have dignity attached to them because God, too, labored and rested,” they write. “While God is the ultimate owner of creation, humans made in his image are given the ‘creation mandate to fill the earth and bring forth its bounty while maintaining care for the earth as stewards responsible to the Creator.”

2. Wisdom and prudence (practical wisdom). Not only must human beings apply their gifts creatively, but they must also learn how best to multiply their efforts. They do this by taking stock of their talents and resources, surveying market conditions, and acting at the best possible moment. Wisdom is widely diffused, leading to diversification of knowledge, skill, and productive capabilities. Trade “is the key to the society-wide sharing of the fruits of specialization; without trade, the benefits of specialization and creative work in specific areas of life cannot be sustained.”

3. The image of God (Imago Dei) reflected in each person. The creativity within each person, and the prudence required to executive it, flow from the fact that each individual human being has been created in the image and likeness of God. Unlike ancient mystery religions, this innate human dignity extends, not merely to the ruler, but to every person. This means that creativity and growth are not the exclusive provinces of any one caste, class, or clique but the universal and eternal reality of the entire people. “The fact that human creativity is a sign of God’s image in us, and is the proximate source of economic growth, has a further implication. Creativity is free and inexhaustible. Therefore economic growth can proceed, in principle—in the cultural and institutional contexts that allow free rein to creativity—forever,” they write. “Any economic system bears the burden of operating in a world marred by sin, but an economy that facilitates the full expression of our being made in the image of God will invariably exhibit growth.”

“The implications of [these three concepts] for growth have been underappreciated,” they write, “by much of current Christian thinking.” This is particularly true of religious critiques of GDP growth, especially in wealthy nations.

Although support for GDP growth among economists is “close to unanimous,” objections from scholars in the humanities and social sciences has been “withering,” “broad and serious.” This includes blaming prosperity for “contributing to the problems of consumerism, materialism, environmental damage, and income inequality.” Noell and Smith forthrightly defend GDP growth as both an instrumental and an intrinsic good:

It is not in fact self-evident that consumption is a moral problem. It is surely a good thing when poorer countries grow and households can afford to cook their meals with natural gas rather than cow dung, or to send their daughters to school rather than into back-breaking unpaid paddy work. … In Christian theological terms, the growth in material prosperity of the past two-and-a-half centuries is legitimate and good, for richer and poorer countries alike. It should not be given up hastily.

Far from endangering the planet, economic growth is good for environmental stewardship – and vice-versa. As a UN study found, a nation’s likelihood to rank environmental concerns as a priority rises directly with its wealth. Impoverished societies using rudimentary agricultural or building techniques drive deforestation and air pollution. Moreover, those who are condemned to a life of subsistence farming, left wondering where their next meal is coming from, pay scant attention to global chlorofluorocarbon levels. “Wealthy democratic societies have a track record of being willing to design and pay for … innovative, less-polluting products,” the authors note. “[G]rowth generates the resources that pay for environmental care.”

Consumerism and self-indulgence are indeed problems – but they are not problems that emerge uniquely from any one economic system. On the contrary, they come out of the heart. “Critics who hope to reduce greed and materialism by slowing growth and moving away from a market system are misjudging the fundamental sources of these human vices, which would be present in any human system,” Noell and Smith write. Indeed, Pope Leo XIII wrote in December 1878 that socialism is motivated “by the greed of present goods.”

Noell and Smith deserve our profound thanks for helping us understand a Christian approach to the proper stewardship of the world’s goods, a vice-regency that will – that must – include economic progress, innovation, dynamism, creativity, and growth.

*About the author: Rev. Ben Johnson is Executive Editor of the Acton Institute’s flagship journal Religion & Liberty and edits its transatlantic website.

Source: This article was published by the Acton Institute

The article The Three Pillars Of Christian Economics – OpEd appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Russia News – russia-news.org: Voice of America – English: U.S. Senate Holds Off Vote on More Money for Americans


Issues in the News moderator, Shayna Estulin, Political and Foreign Affairs Correspondent and panelists Tom DeFrank, contributing Editor to the National Journal and Jonathan Broder, Contributing Editor at Congressional Quarterly deliberate the top stories of the week, including President Trump’s push for $2,000 for COVID-19 relief money for Americans rests with the Senate after the House voted overwhelmingly to meet the President’s demand.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: The Epiphany’s Lessons Of Love And Solidarity – OpEd


Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano, 1423

By Mary Aileen D. Bacalso*

After the celebration of Christ’s birth and the Solemnity of Mary on New Year’s Day, the Christian world celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany every Jan. 6. This year it is being celebrated today, on the first Sunday after the New Year, to give many more people the chance to celebrate it than on a weekday. 

When I was a child, my parents used to tell me that this day is the end of the Christmas season. Traditionally, we take down our Christmas tree and pack our Christmas decorations after the Epiphany. In my hometown, this is the day when the image of the Baby Jesus is passed around every house to bless us and to be kissed.

This practice could have originated from these words in the Gospel: “And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother and falling down, they adored him.” A Christian feast, the day is a celebration of the theophany or the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. 

Every year, this day comes and goes, but in comparison with the festive Christmas and New Year celebrations, it is getting less attention. What is the significance of this day? Epiphany means the revelation or manifestation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. 

I recently had the opportunity to talk to a couple of friends from the Redemptorist and Carmelite communities.

Rev. Father Ramon Fruto of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer beautifully recalled that his late mother Epifania, fondly known as Panyang, was born on Jan. 6. “My mother will celebrate her birthday in heaven, a perpetual holiday,” he said. 

He added: “The Three Kings’ story is used by Matthew to convey a lesson for the Jews of Jesus’ time, which remains relevant to the people of our time. These famous visitors to Bethlehem in the story were not kings and were not three. The Matthew Gospel does not mention three and kings.

“They were those days of the Magi [the plural of ‘magus,’ the root of the word ‘magician’]. In history, there were astrologers who studied the movement of the stars and saw meanings in them. In this case, they indicated the rising of a mighty ruler. Hearing of that, Herod was so disturbed. The story portrays these men coming from the east, so for the pious Jews they were Gentiles or Pagans. Yet, with all their lack of Jewish faith and with all the distance and the hazards of travel, they just followed the guidance of the star to where Jesus was and paid him homage. 

“The pious, religious Jews, blessed with the Old Testament’s prophesies on the coming of a redeemer, failed to see the redeemer in their own neighborhood and to shed their prejudices about how that redeemer should appear. Later in his preaching, Jesus would often refer to the inclusion in his kingdom of those whom pious religious and prestigious Jews would exclude from God’s kingdom.” 

Asked about the relevance of the story to our times, Father Fruto quoted Matthew 8:11-12 that says: “Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place and the banquet of the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob while the natural heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the dark.” 

Those that “religious” Christians might consider not very religious might gain entrance to the kingdom ahead of those who are so devout yet have little regard for justice and solidarity with the poor and victims of exploitation and injustice. This is the Epiphany, the revelation of Jesus and the redeemer not only of the Jews but of all people. The pious Jews are relegated to the periphery of the kingdom.

When asked about the Three Kings, Father Fruto explained that liturgists have transplanted into the liturgy the reference to Psalm 72:10, which says, “The kings of Tashis and the Isles shall offer gifts” and from Isaiah 60:30, 8, which says, “Nations shall walk by your light and kings by your radiance. Camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah. And all shall come from Sheba bringing gold and frankincense.” The liturgists added myrrh, a bitter herb that suggests the bitter Passion of Jesus the Redeemer.

Father Christian Buenafe, the Carmelite executive director of the Institute of Spirituality in Asia, said the core message of the Epiphany is that God manifests his saving grace for all and not only for a selected few.

“This year marks 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. It is good to reflect and ask ourselves, what do we manifest as baptized believers and church workers. Like Christ, we have to become beacons of light in the midst of the pandemic, violence, poverty, repression and tyranny. Are we channels of hope and agents of transformation in the world? This is an invitation for us Filipino Christians to seriously concretize our faith in our present time. We have to be beacons of light,” Father Buenafe said.

Listening to the stories of these men of the cloth makes me realize that the Epiphany is nothing without a quest — a quest for the Lord made incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, whose love for the poor, the deprived, the oppressed, the alienated and the struggling takes supremacy over any external pious acts. Imitating Christ will bring us closer to our treasured aspiration for the realization of God’s kingdom here on Earth. 

As this biggest Christian country in Asia marks the 500th anniversary of its Christianity in the context of the pandemic that continues to plague humanity, we need more than ever to be grounded by the lessons of the Epiphany — love for and solidarity with God’s little ones.

Mary Aileen D. Bacalso is president of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED). The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.

The article The Epiphany’s Lessons Of Love And Solidarity – OpEd appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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NPR News Now: NPR News: 01-02-2021 11PM ET


NPR News: 01-02-2021 11PM ET

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“deutsche bank and trump” – Google News: DA tax probes could be miserable for Trump — and the rest of country – New York Post


DA tax probes could be miserable for Trump — and the rest of country  New York Post

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Ancient Wolf Pup Mummy Uncovered In Yukon Permafrost


This photo shows the wolf pup as she was found. CREDIT Government of Yukon

While water blasting at a wall of frozen mud in Yukon, Canada, a gold miner made an extraordinary discovery: a perfectly preserved wolf pup that had been locked in permafrost for 57,000 years. The remarkable condition of the pup, named Zhùr by the local Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people, gave researchers a wealth of insights about her age, lifestyle, and relationship to modern wolves. The findings appear in the journal Current Biology.

“She’s the most complete wolf mummy that’s ever been found. She’s basically 100% intact–all that’s missing are her eyes,” says first author Julie Meachen, an associate professor of anatomy at Des Moines University. “And the fact that she’s so complete allowed us to do so many lines of inquiry on her to basically reconstruct her life.”

One of the most important questions about Zhùr that the researchers sought to answer was how she ended up preserved in permafrost to begin with. It takes a unique combination of circumstances to produce a permafrost mummy.

“It’s rare to find these mummies in the Yukon. The animal has to die in a permafrost location, where the ground is frozen all the time, and they have to get buried very quickly, like any other fossilization process,” says Meachen. “If it lays out on the frozen tundra too long it’ll decompose or get eaten.”

Another important factor is how the wolf died. Animals that die slowly or are hunted by predators are less likely to be found in pristine condition. “We think she was in her den and died instantaneously by den collapse,” says Meachen. “Our data showed that she didn’t starve and was about 7 weeks old when she died, so we feel a bit better knowing the poor little girl didn’t suffer for too long.”

In addition to learning how Zhùr died, the team were also able to analyze her diet. As it turns out, her diet was heavily influenced by how close she lived to water. “Normally when you think of wolves in the Ice Age, you think of them eating bison or musk oxen or other large animals on land. One thing that surprised us was that she was eating aquatic resources, particularly salmon.”

Analyzing Zhùr’s genome also confirmed that she is descended from ancient wolves from Russia, Siberia, and Alaska, who are the ancestors of modern wolves as well. Although analyzing Zhùr gave the researchers many answers about wolves of the past, there remain some outstanding questions about Zhùr and her family.

“We’ve been asked why she was the only wolf found in the den, and what happened to her mom or siblings,” says Meachen. “It could be that she was an only pup. Or the other wolves weren’t in the den during the collapse. Unfortunately, we’ll never know.”

The specimen holds special significance for the local Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people, who have agreed to place Zhùr on display at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse. She is cleaned and conserved so she will stay intact for years to come, allowing her to travel to other Yukon locations as well. And the research team predicts there may be more and more permafrost mummies found in the coming years.

“One small upside of climate change is that we’re going to find more of these mummies as permafrost melts,” says Meachen. “That’s a good way for science to reconstruct that time better, but it also shows us how much our planet is actually warming. We really need to be careful.”

The article Ancient Wolf Pup Mummy Uncovered In Yukon Permafrost appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Uncovered How Corals Adjust To Warming Oceans


Fish Underwater Corals Sea Ocean Coral Reef

The CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system can help scientists understand, and possibly improve, how corals respond to the environmental stresses of climate change. Work led by Phillip Cleves–who joined Carnegie’s Department of Embryology this fall–details how the revolutionary, Nobel Prize-winning technology can be deployed to guide conservation efforts for fragile reef ecosystems.

Cleves’ research team’s findings were recently published in two papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Corals are marine invertebrates that build extensive calcium carbonate skeletons from which reefs are constructed. But this architecture is only possible because of a mutually beneficial relationship between the coral and various species of single-celled algae that live inside individual coral cells. These algae convert the Sun’s energy into food using a process called photosynthesis and they share some of the nutrients they produce with their coral hosts–kind of like paying rent.

Coral reefs have great ecological, economic, and aesthetic value. Many communities depend on them for food and tourism. However, human activity is putting strain on coral reefs including warming oceans, pollution, and acidification and that affects this symbiotic relationship.

“In particular, increasing ocean temperatures can cause coral to lose their algae, a phenomenon called bleaching, because the coral takes on a ghostly white look in the absence of the algae’s pigment,” Cleves explained. “Without the nutrients provided by photosynthesis, the coral can die of starvation.”

In 2018, Cleves headed up the team that demonstrated the first use of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing on coral. Now, his teams used CRISPR/Cas9 to identify a gene responsible for regulating coral’s response to heat stress.

Working first in the anemone Aiptasia, one team–including Stanford University’s Cory Krediet, Erik Lehnert, Masayuki Onishi, and John Pringle–identified a protein, called Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1), which activates many genes associated with the response to heat stress. Anemones are close coral relatives that have similar symbiotic relationships with photosynthetic algae, but they grow faster and are easier to study. These traits make Aiptasia a powerful model system to study coral biology in the lab.

Then another Cleves-led team–including Stanford University’s Amanda Tinoco and John Pringle, Queensland University of Technology’s Jacob Bradford and Dimitri Perrin, and Line Bay of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)–used CRISPR/Cas9 to create mutations in the gene that encodes HSF1 in the coral Acropora millepora, demonstrating its importance for coping with a warming environment. Without a functioning HSF1 protein, the coral died rapidly when the surrounding water temperature increased.

“Understanding the genetic traits of heat tolerance of corals holds the key to understanding not only how corals will respond to climate change naturally but also balancing the benefits, opportunities and risks of novel management tools,” said Bay, who is the AIMS principal research scientist and head of its Reef Recovery, Restoration and Adaptation team.

Added Cleves: “Our work further demonstrates how CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to elucidate aspects of coral physiology that can be used to guide conservation. This time we focused on one particular heat tolerance gene, but there are so many more mechanisms to reveal in order to truly understand coral biology and apply this knowledge to protecting these important communities.”

The article Uncovered How Corals Adjust To Warming Oceans appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Comb Of A Lifetime: A New Method For Fluorescence Microscopy


2D arrangement of 44,400 light stopwatches enables scan-less fluorescence lifetime imaging CREDIT Tokushima University

Fluorescence microscopy is widely used in biochemistry and life sciences because it allows scientists to directly observe cells and certain compounds in and around them. Fluorescent molecules absorb light within a specific wavelength range and then re-emit it at the longer wavelength range. However, the major limitation of conventional fluorescence microscopy techniques is that the results are very difficult to evaluate quantitatively; fluorescence intensity is significantly affected by both experimental conditions and the concentration of the fluorescent substance. Now, a new study by scientists from Japan is set to revolutionize the field of fluorescence lifetime microscopy. Read on to understand how!

A way around the conventional problem is to focus on fluorescence lifetime instead of intensity. When a fluorescent substance is irradiated with a short burst of light, the resulting fluorescence does not disappear immediately but actually “decays” over time in a way that is specific to that substance. The “fluorescence lifetime microscopy” technique leverages this phenomenon–which is independent of experimental conditions–to accurately quantify fluorescent molecules and changes in their environment. However, fluorescence decay is extremely fast, and ordinary cameras cannot capture it. While a single-point photodetector can be used instead, it has to be scanned throughout the sample’s area to be able to reconstruct a complete 2D picture from each measured point. This process involves movement of mechanical pieces, which greatly limits the speed of image capture.

Fortunately, in this recent study published in Science Advances, the aforementioned team of scientists developed a novel approach to acquire fluorescence lifetime images without necessitating mechanical scanning. Professor Takeshi Yasui, from Institute of Post-LED Photonics (pLED), Tokushima University, Japan, who led the study, explains, “Our method can be interpreted as simultaneously mapping 44,400 ‘light stopwatches’ over a 2D space to measure fluorescence lifetimes–all in a single shot and without scanning.” So, how was this achieved?

One of the main pillars of their method is the use of an optical frequency comb as the excitation light for the sample. An optical frequency comb is essentially a light signal composed of the sum of many discrete optical frequencies with a constant spacing in between them. The word “comb” in this context refers to how the signal looks when plotted against optical frequency: a dense cluster of equidistant “spikes” rising from the optical frequency axis and resembling a hair comb. Using special optical equipment, a pair of excitation frequency comb signals is decomposed into individual optical beat signals (dual-comb optical beats) with different intensity-modulation frequencies, each carrying a single modulation frequency, and irradiated on the target sample. The key here is that each light beam hits the sample on a spatially distinct location, creating a one-to-one correspondence between each point on the 2D surface of the sample (pixel) and each modulation frequency of the dual-comb optical beats.

Because of its fluorescence properties, the sample re-emits part of the captured radiation while still preserving the aforementioned frequency-position correspondence. The fluorescence emitted from the sample is then simply focused using a lens onto a high-speed single-point photodetector. Finally, the measured signal is mathematically transformed into the frequency domain, and the fluorescence lifetime at each “pixel” is easily calculated from the relative phase delay that exists between the excitation signal at that modulation frequency versus the one measured.

Thanks to its superior speed and high spatial resolution, the microscopy method developed in this study will make it easier to exploit the advantages of fluorescence lifetime measurements. “Because our technique does not require scanning, a simultaneous measurement over the entire sample is guaranteed in each shot,” remarks Prof. Yasui, “This will be helpful in life sciences where dynamic observations of living cells are needed.” In addition to providing deeper insight into biological processes, this new approach could be used for simultaneous imaging of multiple samples for antigen testing, which is already being used for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Perhaps most importantly, this study showcases how optical frequency combs, which were only being used as “frequency rulers,” can find a place in microscopy techniques to push the envelope in life sciences. It holds promise for the development of novel therapeutic options to treat intractable diseases and enhance life expectancy, thereby benefitting the whole of humanity.

The article Comb Of A Lifetime: A New Method For Fluorescence Microscopy appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Nigeria: Catholic Bishop Released Five Days After Kidnapping


Bishop Moses Chikwe, Auxiliary Bishop of Nigeria’s Archdiocese of Owerri. Credit: Public Domain

A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri.

The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social media post late on Jan. 1 that Bishop Moses Chikwe and his driver, Ndubuisi Robert, had been released by their abductors “unhurt and without ransom.”

“More details to come,” the announcement continued. “To GOD be the glory.” The post was accompanied by a photo, with the words “welcome back our beloved Bishop, God heard [the] prayers of his people.”

Chikwe, the auxiliary bishop of Owerri archdiocese, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 27, in Owerri, the capital of Imo State in southeastern Nigeria.

The website of the Nigerian newspaper The Sun reported that the bishop was kidnapped “alongside his driver in his official car” and that the vehicle “was later returned to Assumpta roundabout, while the occupants were believed to have been taken to an unknown destination.”

The bishops of Nigeria had urged prayer for the 53-year-old Chikwe’s safety and release. Catholics in southern California had also been praying for the bishop’s safe return. Chikwe served for several years as a priest in the Diocese of San Diego, before returning to his country.

Chikwe was ordained a priest on July 6, 1996, in Nigeria, after which he completed his master’s degree in educational administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and his PhD in education at UCLA. Fr. Chikwe served for six years as a priest in residence at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown San Diego and at the V.A. Hospital in La Jolla as chaplain; he also frequently said Mass at St. Mark’s parish in San Marcos, Calif.

He returned to his home diocese where he became director of education and was ordained auxiliary bishop on Dec. 12, 2019.

In a Dec. 29 statement, Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri urged “all Christ’s faithful and people of goodwill” to disregard reports that kidnappers had killed Bishop Chicwe. “This information is unconfirmed, misleading and does not come from the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri,” he added.

Bishop Chikwe’s abduction is the latest in a series of kidnappings that have targeted clergy in Nigeria, but previous abductions have involved priests and seminarians, not bishops.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department listed Nigeria among the worst countries for religious freedom, describing the West African nation as a “country of particular concern (CPC).” This is a formal designation reserved for nations where the worst violations of religious freedom are taking place, the other countries being China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

The article Nigeria: Catholic Bishop Released Five Days After Kidnapping appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Allergists Offer Reassurance Regarding Potential Allergic Reactions To COVID-19 Vaccines


Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are seen at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. Photo Credit: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD

Reports of possible allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, both recently approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have raised public concern. A team of experts led by allergists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has now examined all relevant information to offer reassurance that the vaccines can be administered safely even to people with food or medication allergies. The group’s review is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

In response to accounts of potential allergic reactions in some people following COVID-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom, that country’s medical regulatory agency advised that individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine or food should avoid COVID-19 vaccination.

After closer review of the data related to allergic reactions, however, the FDA recommended that the vaccines be withheld only from individuals with a history of severe allergic reactions to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that all patients be observed for 15 minutes post-vaccination by staff who can identify and manage such reactions. The U.S. agencies do not recommend that people with food or medication allergies avoid vaccination.

To provide insights from allergists’ perspectives, Aleena Banerji, MD, clinical director of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Unit at MGH and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, and her colleagues have summarized what’s currently known about allergic reactions to vaccines like those developed against COVID-19, and they have proposed detailed advice so that individuals with different allergy histories can safely receive their first COVID-19 vaccine. They also outline steps on safely receiving the second dose in individuals who develop a reaction to their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“As allergists, we want to encourage vaccination by reassuring the public that both FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Our guidelines are built upon the recommendations of U.S. regulatory agencies and provide clear steps to the medical community on how to safely administer both doses of the vaccine in individuals with allergic histories,” says Banerji.

The experts note that allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, with a rate of about 1.3 per 1 million people. They also determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions will have a similarly low rate of occurrence. They stress that vaccine clinics will be monitoring all patients for 15 to 30 minutes and can manage any allergic reactions that occur.

Banerji and her co-authors recommend that individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to an injectable drug or vaccine containing polyethylene glycol or polysorbate speak with their allergists before being vaccinated. They stress that patients with severe allergies to foods, oral drugs, latex, or venom can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

The article Allergists Offer Reassurance Regarding Potential Allergic Reactions To COVID-19 Vaccines appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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