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Unnamed German Lab Says Navalny Poisoned With Novichok. U.K.’s Porton Down Lab’s Involvement Makes the Case Stink

German government spokesman Steffan Siebert has reported that according to toxicology tests performed on Alexei Navalny’s blood samples by a German military lab, there is now “unequivocal proof” that the Russian opposition figure was poisoned by a nerve agent of the Novichok family, Reuters reported. Predictably, this has unleashed a wave of indignant responses from within Germany and internationally on a par with the hysteria around the orchestrated 2018 Skrypal case, demanding that Russia be held accountable. Putin himself is targeted.

    While spokesman Dmitry Peskov reported today that the Kremlin has received no report from Berlin on these findings, nor replies to any previous requests for more detailed medical information on Navalny’s status, Seibert solemnly announced that the “federal government will inform its partners in the EU and NATO of the results of the investigation…and will discuss an appropriate joint response with the partners in the light of the Russian response.” The implication is that sanctions could be imposed on Russia. In her own statement, Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed, “it’s now clear” there was an “attempt to murder Navalny…He is the victim of a crime. He was meant to be silenced. This raises very difficult questions that only the Russian government can and must answer. This goes against the basic values that we stand for.” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he would be calling in the Russian ambassador to demand an immediate response to the German lab’s findings. The name of the lab hasn’t been identified.

      The stench emanating from Siebert’s assertion of “unequivocal proof,” is unmistakable. {The Guardian} gives it away when it mentions that, according to {Der Spiegel}, experts at Berlin’s Charite hospital where Navalny is being treated, consulted Britain’s secretive Porton Down lab, notorious for its role in the Skripal case, precisely “because of possible similarities with the 2018 Skripal attack.” It also quotes a German Green MP who studied at Yale University with Navalny who bellows that this new information raises the whole issue to “an international level,” demanding an international investigation be launched immediately. B {The Guardian} coyly notes that, so far,  Germany remains committed to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia, implying that the alleged poisoning of Navalny might change that.

      Tass notes that Russia’s Prosecutor General had requested Germany’s legal assistance in replying to 20 pertinent questions regarding Navalny’s treatment, diagnosis and test results as well as on a preliminary diagnosis from the German clinic, and medical documents and research by German specialists, both during Navalny’s transportation from Russia to Germany and his stay at the Berlin clinic. The Germans provided no information.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approves NuScale’s Small Modular Reactor

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced the completion of its Phase 6 review—the last and final phase—of the Design Certification Application (DCA) for NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) and have issued  the Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER).  With this final approval customers can proceed with plans to develop NuScale power plants with the understanding that the NRC has approved the safety aspects of the NuScale design.

“This is a significant milestone not only for NuScale, but also for the entire U.S. nuclear sector and the other advanced nuclear technologies that will follow. This clearly establishes the leadership of NuScale and the U.S. in the race to bring SMRs to market. The approval of NuScale’s design is an incredible accomplishment and we would like to extend our deepest thanks to the NRC for their comprehensive review, to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for its continued commitment to our successful private-public partnership to bring the country’s first SMR to market, and to the many other individuals who have dedicated countless hours to make this extraordinary moment a reality,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins said in a NuScale press release on August 28. “Additionally, the cost-shared funding provided by Congress over the past several years has accelerated NuScale’s advancement through the NRC Design Certification process. This is what DOE’s SMR Program was created to do, and our success is credited to strong bipartisan support from Congress.”

This  design certification  means it meets safety requirements and could be chosen by future projects seeking licensing and approval. The next step for NuScale is to obtain full certification from the regulator which will then allow a utility to reference the design when applying to build and operate a nuclear power plant anywhere in the US. Already the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems is planning to develop a 720MW plant at the Idaho National Laboratory which would use 12 of these reactors.

Once built the Nuscale reactor will be the first of its kind which can be built in serial production in a factory with the modules assembled on the site of the power plant. NuScale has signed agreements with entities in the U.S., Canada, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Jordan. Similar agreements with other entities are being negotiated. 

University of Alabama Ranked #1 for COVID

The University of Alabama has climbed to #1 in the COVID-19 rankings amongst major American universities. Their main campus at Tuscaloosa climbed over the 1,000 mark after only nine days of school, now totaling 1,063. If CNN’s figure of around 8,700 cases currently for all U.S. colleges and universities is correct, then this one campus has about 12% of the known cases on campuses in the country.

The Tuscaloosa campus has some well-deserved notoriety, having made the news months ago for the fad of “COVID” parties – where parties were arranged with at least one known COVID- infected student. The other students would put money into a pot, with the first new case of COVID declared the winner. Such a demented subculture will give a new meaning to their school nickname, the “Crimson Tide.”

In the first six days of school, the campus showed 90/day, while the last three have climbed to 160/day. (These numbers only include the students, as the numbers for the faculty and staff together pale in comparison — nine cases, or one/day.) Assuming an approximate 4-5 day lag time from infection to symptoms to test results, it suggests the uptick happened last weekend. On Monday, all the bars in town were closed, by order of Mayor Walt Maddox. In tandem, the University has issued a moratorium on all in-person events, outside of classes; and has closed all common areas of dormitories, fraternities and sororities. They are hoping that their actions will be reflected in a drop in the new cases — unless the barn door was closed too late.

Wang Yi in France Calls for “Community of Common Health for Mankind”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in France yesterday, where he met with French President Macron. A meeting with Foreign Minister Le Drian was planned for today, as part of European tour he is undertaking. The meeting with France is particularly important,  given France’s position in the EU, which relationship China is also intent on improving. France has also indicated that they would (under U.S. pressure) phase out Huawei’s presence in France over the next few years.

China Daily reported that “The pressing task now, Wang said, is to restart bilateral exchanges in all areas in an orderly manner while keeping regular COVID-19 containment measures in place, including strengthening coordination and cooperation in the research and development of COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines and in prevention of future pandemics, so as to overcome the pandemic as soon as possible and make positive contribution to the establishment of a community of common health for mankind.“

Wang said that the two sides should continue to firmly support the WHO in coordinating and leading the global COVID-19 response, and to oppose politicizing the pandemic, adding that China is ready to speed up cooperation with France on major projects for win-win outcomes.

“Noting that Europe is an important force in a multipolar world, Wang said that China and Europe have always been partners instead of rivals with their consensus far outweighing differences.“

“China appreciates president Macron’s call for Europe to strengthen strategic independence, which not only reflects France’s tradition of independence, but also demonstrates Europe’s position as a pole of the world, he said.“

Wang Yi arrived in France after completing a successful trip to Norway, where there is a discussion of working toward a free trade agreement. China-Norwegian relations had been somewhat chilly since Norway awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. But the meetings were warm and Wang Yi gave an up-beat press conference following the meeting.

Wang Yi is expected to conclude his European tour in Berlin at the beginning of next week. However, a meeting with Angela Merkel is not planned. A group of China-haters belonging to the Interparliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) has demanded from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas that he confront China on the Uighurs and on Hong Kong. The letter is signed by Margarete Bause (Grüne), Gyde Jense (FDP) and Michael Brand (CDU). 

Webcast: End The Age Of Barbarism

With civilization on the edge of an abyss from a confluence of crises, a summit of great powers, combined with a serious realistic discussion of why war is unacceptable, are essential if we are to end the age of barbarism.  In her weekly dialogue, Helga Zepp LaRouche pointed to President Trump’s statement that he is speaking with Russia about a new nuclear arms pact as an important indication that the necessary level of discussion is possible.  She referred also to the discussion around the 75th anniversary of the U.S. use of nuclear bombs against Japan as a sign that there are sane networks which are mobilizing to put an end to the danger of nuclear war.
This was a major concern of her husband, Lyndon LaRouche, who in 1995 introduced crucial evidence showing why there was no military reason to use nuclear weapons against Japan.  Instead, he pointed to the evil Bertrand Russell as a promoter of nuclear war.  For Russell, the threat of nuclear annihilation was a necessary component to force the Soviet Union and any other sovereign nation state, to submit to a world order dictated by the British Empire.
The Russellite imperial forces today are threatening Russia and China with war, as their empire is falling apart, and their coup efforts to defeat President Trump are being exposed more each day.  Zepp LaRouche urged viewers to join our mobilization for an international online conference on September 5 & 6, to create the climate in which a P5 summit occurs, before the U.S. election.

German Maglev Variant Gets Crucial License

The TSB (Transport System Boegl) of the German company May Boegle has received the license by the national railway supervision EBA, a crucial step toward receiving orders for the construction of maglev tracks in Germany. Boegl says that their system, developed on the basis of the former Transrapid, but modified for use in urban areas at slower speeds, and is capable of operating on elevated tracks, on the ground as well as underground. The EBA license enables Boegl which runs a pilot testing project in China at present, to open up potential markets also in other countries. Boegl says that the TSB prototype has been standardized to such an extent that production for commercial projects can begin in two years from now.

Pandemic Shock Waves Are Striking Numerous Areas of the Economy

According to the Asian Development Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to massive losses in remittances sent home by foreign workers, which could end up totaling some $110 billion by the end of the year, a nearly 20% decline from what was expected before the crisis. Total remittances hit a record $554 billion in 2019.

A June study by the UN had likewise forecast a drop of more than 20% for this year, and estimated that in 2019 there were some 272 million international migrants (up from 150 million in 2000). Nearly two-thirds of those migrants, 164 million people, are “labor migrants,” and 74% of them are of working age (20-64 years). In other words, people unable to find productive work in their own countries. The money sent back home by those 270 million-plus migrants supports an estimated 800 million people, who often need those funds to cover the basics of life: food, water, health care, and education.

The case of the plunge in remittances is just one of a number of shock waves spreading across the planet as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, each of which is a full-blown crisis in its own right, capable of wreaking major havoc. Another such shock front is what is happening with food supplies and resulting hunger and starvation; the huge jump in suicides, drug overdoses, and other deaths of despair in the U.S.; the danger of “losing an entire generation” from lack of education, that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently warned about; and also the mass evictions of millions of people in the U.S. that will happen over the next few months, unless measures are taken.

A recent Aspen Institute study observed that 23 million people nationwide are at risk of being evicted, since they are behind in their rent or mortgage payments and federal unemployment benefits for 30 million people have expired, with no replacement in place yet. AP reported that some 30 state moratoria on evictions have expired since May, according to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. AP added: “And the federal eviction moratorium that protects more than 12 million renters living in federally subsidized apartments or units with federally backed mortgages expired July 25. If it’s not extended, landlords can initiate eviction proceedings in 30 days.”

WHO Advance Mission to China Lays Groundwork for Long-Term International Effort To Study Origins of COVID-19 Virus

At yesterday’s virtual daily press conference in Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reported that a WHO team of experts had returned from their three-week visit to China, as a result of which the Terms of Reference have been drafted for the work program and long-term study by a new international team, led by WHO, to identify the potential source of infection of the first COVID-19 cases.

The team will include leading Chinese and foreign scientists and researchers. Epidemiological studies will begin in Wuhan to identify the potential source of infection of early cases. Then, evidence and hypotheses generated through this work will lay the basis for further, long-term studies. Today, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier reported that the team that visited China had “extensive discussions with Chinese counterparts,and received updates on epidemiological studies, biologic and genetic analysis and animal health research.” They also held video conferences with Wuhan virologists and scientists, Reuters reported.

Of note are the remarks by Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO’s Emergencies Program, who said yesterday that it is important to start studies on the first reported human clusters of atypical pneumonia in Wuhan, in order to systematically look for the “first signal at which the animal-human species barrier was crossed.” According to CGTN, Ryan emphasized that “one must remember that there was a specific surveillance system in place in Wuhan for picking up clusters of atypical pneumonia. It was there for a very specific purpose. And the fact that the fire alarm was triggered, doesn’t necessarily mean that that is where the disease crossed from animals into humans.” A much more “extensive retrospective epidemiological study” should be done, he said, “in order to fully understand the links between the [atypical pneumonia] cases.”

International NGOs Appeal to 75th UN General Assembly for Aid to 20 Million People in Yemen

An appeal for emergency food and humanitarian relief was issued, posted Sept. 14 on the ReliefWeb, CARE, Oxfam sites, and other signers, by 24 international NGOs, titled, “Joint INGO Statement on Yemen—75th Session of the UN General Assembly.” Variously dated Sept. 14 or Sept. 15, 2020, the document is signed by groups including CARE, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, Doctors of the World, Save the Children, and others. The two-page document states, after identifying the need for a ceasefire after seven years of war:

“Two-thirds of the population—20 million people—are hungry, and nearly 1.5 million families currently rely entirely on food aid to survive….

“Yemen is now a drastically under-funded crisis. At a critical time when needs are increasing, famine once again looms, and COVID-19 remains a constant threat, it is inconceivable that funding for Yemen’s humanitarian response is drying up.”

After providing details of the situation, for example, that “in August, only 50% of the fuel normally imported into Yemen was allowed to enter,” the statement concludes with a call for seven points of action:

“In the context of discussions taking place during the 75th UN General Assembly, International Non-Governmental Organizations operating on the ground in Yemen call on the international community…” and then follows with bullet points and brief explanations including: work for a ceasefire, “Urgently provide the resources necessary to meet the ongoing humanitarian needs in Yemen, and ensure that the Covid-19 response is also fully funded.” Also, they request diplomacy to improve humanitarian access in Yemen, efforts to support the economy long term in Yemen, “concerted pressure” on the warring parties to stop weaponizing the means to life, implement recommendations from the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) on Yemen, for accountability on harm to civilians, and “suspend transfers of all arms and military equipment.”

First American ‘Splash-down’ Since the Era of Apollo Missions

Today, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor flawlessly brought the two astronauts Robert “Bob” Behnken and Douglas “Doug” Hurley safely back home to Earth. In a remarkable series of maneuvers, the craft autonomously positioned itself for the correct orbit for splashdown. This was the first American splashdown in nearly 50 years!

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on his blog: “We need to remember that this is just the beginning. Now is the time to capitalize on all the great programs that have recently been established, to include going sustainably to the Moon under a program we call Artemis. We’re going to the Moon sustainably; we’re going to go with commercial partners, with international partners. We’re going to use the resources of the Moon to learn how to live and work on another world for long periods of time. We’re going to take all of that knowledge and we’re going to go to Mars.”

As Dragon prepared to re-enter Earth’s orbit, it first executed the separation of the claw and trunk (on the lower portion of the craft), which were jettisoned away from the spacecraft. Thrusters at the forward point of the craft to decelerate it, burned for 11 minutes, the longest burn ever.

When completed, the cap for the capsule closed back over the thrusters, and began to maneuver about 90 degrees, such that the broadest portion of the capsule would shield the crew from the 3500 F degree heat, generated by the speed and friction with Earth’s atmosphere.

During this time, there was an expected six-minute blackout, due to the plasma generated by the heat of the descent on the outside of the spacecraft.

As it came out of the blackout, the drogue parachute was deployed first, to further slow its descent, and then the four main parachutes deployed, with a splashdown speed of 15 mph, near the coast of Pensacola, Florida, right on time. During the descent, a specially-equipped WB-57 airplane provided the first infrared images of the spacecraft.

Coverage on [] included the commentators fielding numerous questions from the public via Twitter, featuring many questions on the mechanics of the descent, what the astronauts would experience, etc. and a question from a seven-year old asking why the capsule was shaped the way it was (cone-shaped).

This exciting first step for America’s return to manned missions to space demonstrates that the dream is very much alive, and enthusiastically received by the American people.

Dragon Endeavor now heads to weeks of post-flight inspection and testing, in order to complete the certification of the Dragon system to fly operational missions for NASA’s Commercial Crew and International Space Station Programs. If all goes as planned, the SpaceX Dragon’s first operational mission, Crew-1, will head to the ISS by late September, with three NASA astronauts and a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist aboard.

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