DAILY DOSE: China lashes out and berates the WHO; Food allergies are on the rise.


If you thought the performative value of playing the victim was strictly an American political phenomenon, think again. According to CNN, “The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) is being censored on China’s internet after questioning the sustainability of the country’s zero-Covid policy. The censorship on Weibo and WeChat, China’s two largest social media platforms, targets WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ comments that expressed rare disagreement with Beijing’s policies. “When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don’t think that it is sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” Tedros told a media briefing Tuesday, citing the increased transmissibility of Omicron.” https://cnn.it/3M6ouUa


Things didn’t stop with Dr. Tedros’ comments being scrubbed from the Chinese interweb so that they did not exist. The foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, responded to the comments that supposedly never happened, if you go by the alternate reality constructed by Beijing’s censors. Per Reuters, “China’s foreign ministry called on World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to avoid making ‘irresponsible’ remarks, after he said China’s zero-COVID policy was not sustainable. Speaking at a regular news conference in Beijing on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian defended China’s measures on fighting the pandemic and said China hopes the WHO Director-General can view China’s COVID policies objectively.” The Reuters headline hits the nail on the head: China berates WHO chief for ‘irresponsible’ remarks on its zero-COVID policy. Apparently, American politicians aren’t the only clowns in the world. Washington D.C.’ has company. Clearly, Beijing’s got a few of their own. https://reut.rs/3FCwVUJ


Farmers in India have been the source of considerable protests against agricultural policies which they feel runs contrary to their interests. Just ask Prime Minister Naredra Modi. Now, a new seemingly harmless bill innocuously named a Biological Diversity Bill seems to have caught their ire. Per the Wire Science, “The proposed Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill 2021 reveals its biases in the context of rights. Specifically, it explicitly seeks to encourage a conducive environment for collaborative research and investments and to simplify the patent application process. The mention of ‘patents’ in the Bill is not benign.”  Farmers in India have historically been against any kind of Intellectual Property rights – whether patents of plant variety protection (PVP) or seed and planting materials. Ironically, IP rights are granted to farmers under the category of ‘farmers’ varieties’ (FVs) as laid down in the PPV&FR Act. https://bit.ly/3kWSV3j


A common food allergy appears to be growing more prevalent and, sometimes, more dangerous. Per the Guardian, “An “explosion” in a food allergy poses a particular risk to vegans and vegetarians, one of Britain’s leading experts has warned. Cases of pollen food syndrome (PFS) have risen markedly in recent years as a result of global heating, worsening pollution and changes in pollen patterns, Dr Isabel Skypala said. Attacks of PFS are usually triggered by eating raw nuts, fruit and vegetables. However, they can also be prompted by foods popular among people who avoid animal products, such as soya milk, avocados, jackfruit, edamame beans and smoothies.” PFS is caused by unstable pollen antibodies found in proteins in some raw – but not cooked – fruits and vegetables, nuts and soya. https://bit.ly/3w5Z2Zv


There’s some seriously disturbing news coming from Australia regarding the Great Barrier Reef. According to the Associated Press, “More than 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral surveyed this year was bleached in the fourth such mass event in seven years in the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, Australian government scientists said. Bleaching is caused by global warming, but this is the reef’s first bleaching event during a La Niña weather pattern, which is associated with cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority said in its annual report released late Tuesday that found 91% of the areas surveyed were affected. Bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 damaged two-thirds of the coral in the famed reef off Australia’s eastern coast.” Although coral reefs have proven surprisingly resilient, one has to wonder  how much longer then can hold out against an unrelenting assault. https://bit.ly/3MXVqye

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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