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Southeast Asia in COVID Explosion

July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)–Indonesia now has the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rate and death rate, while other Southeast Asian countries are also facing a dangerous spike and a lack of adequate medical capacity.

* INDONESIA surpassed India’s peak per-capita death rate at 4.17 per million, compared to India’s peak of 3.04. Wednesday saw the highest death toll thus far at 1,383, while reported new cases exceed 50,000 per day (but with little testing, the actual number is thought to be much higher). The government ordered the conversion of oxygen production to be 90% for medical purposes from 20% normally. About 14% of the population has had at least one vaccine dose, primarily China’s Sinovac.

* MALAYSIAN hospitals are terribly overcrowded. AP reports that the national lockdown measures, which have badly damaged the economy, have not stemmed the infection rate of more than 10,000 daily. About 15% of the population is fully vaccinated, and the government hopes to have a majority vaccinated by the end of the year. The death rate per million is close to that of Indonesia, at 4.02.

* MYANMAR is still in a state of social chaos since the coup in February and the mass demonstrations — and mass killing of demonstrators by the junta. Now the pandemic is sweeping the country with few reliable statistics. The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human RIghts (an organization opposing the junta) reports in a statement: “With little testing capacity, low numbers in the country vaccinated, widespread shortages of oxygen and other medical supplies, and an already beleaguered health care system under increasing strain, the situation is expected to get increasingly worse in the coming weeks and months.” It is believed that only 3% of the population has been vaccinated. The head of the department that oversees the cemeteries told military-run Myawaddy TV news on Monday that 350 staff members had been working three shifts since July 8 to ensure proper cremations and burials of people at Yangon’s seven major cemeteries, adding that they had cremated and buried more than 1,200 people on Sunday alone, including 1,065 who had died at home of COVID-19 and 169 who had died in hospitals.

AP reports that Cambodia and Thailand have also seen strong increases in both coronavirus cases and deaths, but have thus far held the seven-day rate per million people to a lower 1.29 and 1.74, respectively.


CGTN Publishes Helga Zepp-LaRouche Opinion Piece on ‘COVID Resilience Rankings’

July 16 (EIRNS)—A commentary from Helga Zepp-LaRouche, responding  to “COVID Resilience Rankings” determined by Bloomberg, was published by CGTN today. Zepp-LaRouche lambasts the Bloomberg report, which gave the U.S. higher marks than China, in which she states, “Essentially this ranking is a demonstration of the thesis, that one can prove anything with statistics, as long as you define how the statistics are constructed. While most of the nominal facts of the listed rankings appear to be factual, the accompanying article in the section ‘Containment Formula’ belies the overall purpose and bias hidden behind the statistics. Here the worry is expressed, that the ‘underperformance of some of the world’s most prominent democracies’ as compared with ‘authoritarian countries like China’ has raised questions about the ability of democratic societies to cope with pandemics.”

Zepp-LaRouche continues: “The reality shows a quite different story. In Wuhan, China, it demonstrated that the prioritization of society’s well-being over individual liberty was very successful. The Chinese approach after the containment in Hubei Province to test, isolate, quarantine, continues to spot cases to the present day and has resulted in only 4,636 deaths to date. In the U.S., on the other hand, more than 600,000 people lost their lives with many people suffering from long-term COVID debilitating effects.” The full opinion article is here.


UN Sec. General Guterres: The World Needs 11 Billion Doses to Vaccinate 70% of The Population to Defeat the Pandemic

July 14 (EIRNS) – Speaking to the U.N.’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated succinctly: “Pledges of doses and funds are welcome — but they are not enough. We need at least 11 billion doses to vaccinate 70 percent of the world and end this pandemic… Everyone, everywhere, must have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments and support,” he said.

“The world needs a Global Vaccination Plan to at least double the production of vaccines, ensure equitable distribution through COVAX, coordinate implementation and financing, and support national immunization programs,” Guterres added. “To realize this plan, I have been calling for an Emergency Task Force that brings together the countries that produce and can produce vaccines, the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator partners and international financial institutions, able to deal with the relevant pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, and other key stakeholders,” he said.


Indonesia Surges Past India in New Covid Cases Per Day

Indonesia Surges Past India in New COVID Cases Per Day

July 14 (EIRNS)–Indonesia hit a record 54,000 official new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, about a twelvefold increase over the last seven weeks. Covid deaths follow new cases by two weeks, going from 200/day to over 1,000/day over the last five weeks. India, with five times bigger population, has dropped below 40,000/day. Indonesia, a country of 270 million souls, has only vaccinated about 15.6 million people, with another 31 million having received their first dose over the last several weeks. They’ve now acquired a total of 108.5 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine and recently another 25 million doses of AstraZeneca. The United States chimed in with 3 million doses of Moderna on July 9, both too little and rather late — even though President Biden’s commitment to get a total of 4 million doses to Indonesia represents one of his largest actions. The total projected doses amount to potential coverage of 69 million people, or about a quarter of the population, and they are presently administering about three-quarters of a million jabs/day. The Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin reports that more than 90,000 of 120,000 available hospital beds are taken up with Covid patients, while certain provinces are reaching 100% capacity.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche Briefs China Plus ‘World Today’ Program—‘The New Name for Peace Is Development’

July 13 (EIRNS)—Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave the following interview to China Plus radio’s World Today broadcast today. China Plus is the official English website of China Radio International. The interview is the second news story starting at 12:55 minutes

CRI: Welcome back. The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed China’s resolution on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights, at the 47th session, which emphasizes the right to development and that the aim of development is to improve the developing of the people. For more, we are now joined on the line by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany based economic and political think tank. Thanks for joining us Dr. LaRouche.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, hello! How are you?

CRI: I’m good, thank you. So, the resolution stresses that development and the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. How do we understand those?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: First of all, let me express my congratulation. I think this is an excellent development, because hopefully this will inspire a very productive discussion everywhere around the world, what is the right definition of human rights. And I think the interdependence between development and human rights and freedom, you can see best if you look at the lack of development. Because then you have poverty, and you have still on the planet, 2 billion people who have no access to clean water, more than 800 million are and you have no freedom if you have all day to try to get a little bit of water and a little bit to eat, just to try to stay alive, so you have no freedom under these conditions. So therefore, I think development is very clearly the precondition for both human rights with freedom.

CRI: Yes, but that is very different from the Western explanation for human rights, which all starts with the ballot box and has everything to do with individual freedom. How did it get the different priorities when it comes to the human rights issue?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well first of all, I think one has to see that the label isn’t always consistent with the content. Many things which have the label “democracy” and “human rights” have quite some different content, and in the case of the Western parliamentarian system, or unfortunately even the presidential system in some countries, is more a plutocracy, where the money of the multinationals and the big banks determine who gets a seat. Also, I think if you look at the overemphasis of individual freedom it has degenerated into a notion, everything is allowed, and the common good is regarded as a suppression of these individual freedoms.

Now, if you have a crisis, like in the case of COVID-19, you can see what the consequences of this is. China and some other Asian nations took strict measures for the common good, and it worked well, and then also the individuals profited because they were rid of the pandemic earlier; while in the West you had a back and forth, people were even protesting against having to wear masks, regarding that as an intrusion in their personal freedom, and they had to pay a much, much bigger price.

CRI: Well, representatives from countries including Venezuela, Cuba, and Pakistan also made speeches to appreciate China for delivering those draft resolutions and stressed that development should be the focus of every country, especially developing countries. But why is the resolution getting support from these countries?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it’s very simple: Because in the entire post-World War II period, the IMF conditionalities prevented real development in the developing sector. They were told, you have to pay your debt first before you can invest in infrastructure or health, and the result was a blatant underdevelopment and incredible poverty. So, China, even before the Belt and Road, invested in railways in Africa and other infrastructure, but especially with the Belt and Road Initiative and the COVID crisis, it became very clear that these countries regarded the help from China—which was denounced as “vaccine diplomacy” by some Western media—but these developing countries regarded the attitude of China as a life-saver for them. So, it’s no surprise that they would support it.

CRI: And I think you earlier mentioned about what should be the right definition of human rights. And another question is who gets to pick what the most basic human rights should be? And have you got a feeling that this has been heavily guided by a small number of mostly Western nations which has led to a general bias in favor of the civil, political liberties over economic, social, and cultural rights?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. You can see that right now very clearly in the case of the so-called “identity policy.” For example, between the EU Commission and countries such as Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, there is a big tension right now, whereas in the East, they have rejected the effort by the EU Commission to impose the values of the Western liberal European countries.

So, I think what needs to be put up front again, is the Five Principles of peaceful coexistence and the idea of non-interference in the different social systems, because they are, due to customs, traditions, cultural heritage and these must be respected.

CRI: In 2019 a study by the Center for New American Security—that is a Washington-based think tank—says that China’s actions in the UN were part of this effort to redefine how such institutions are run and shift away from Western concepts of democracy and human rights. What is your thought on those?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, China has been the leading nation for centuries, and only in the 18th and 19th centuries, because of the colonialist attacks and Opium Wars by the British, you know, that that was diminished. But now, China is again the second largest economy in the world. The lifting of poverty of 850 million people represents a tremendous civilizational contribution, and therefore, I think, it is absolutely correct that China should have a major role in this discussion.

CRI: OK, but do you feel the widespread back and forth surrounding human rights issues around the world currently has been highly politicized? And sometimes it has even been used as a tool for political purposes and sometimes as an excuse to put pressure on other countries or even invade other countries?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. These notions, human rights and democracy, have become like a two by four: You can smash any argument into the ground. So, I think this double standard needs to be corrected. Those people in the West who support sanctions under conditions of the COVID-19 crisis against such countries as Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela—I think altogether 30 countries—I mean, this is a violation of human rights if you ever have seen one. Or, if you look at how Assange is treated, or what happened to Snowden, all these people just did the right thing, and they have been treated in an absolutely horrible way. So, this double standard should be stopped.

CRI: What are the consequences of such double standards or politicizing such human rights issues? Is it like shifting our focus away from the real human rights problems?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, it poisons the atmosphere, and it degenerates the idea of human rights, which is actually a beautiful idea, and makes it a victim to geopolitical reasons.

Now, the Schiller Institute is upholding this concept of the “New Name for Peace Is Development.” This comes originally from Pope Paul VI in 1967 in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio, where he coined that idea that the “new name for peace is development.”

And this is very important right now, concretely in Afghanistan. Look, for example, NATO spent there 20 years for absolutely nothing, and now the question is what’s to come out of Afghanistan? Will you continue the geopolitical war? Or, will you have an agreement among all neighbors, like Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and have real development? The real development would mean to extend the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan, but also into Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the whole region. And then you can have peace. So this is not an abstract academic notion, this is an extremely actual issue, that the idea that real peace does require development, that that is a precondition without which nothing will function.

CRI: OK, thank you Dr. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany-based political and economic think tank.


UN Warns of ‘High Food Price Hot Spots’ in Africa; Hyperinflation In Many Countries

UN Warns of ‘High Food Price Hot Spots’ in Africa; Hyperinflation In Many Countries

July 9 (EIRNS)–The UN News office issued a release July 8 on the crisis of rising food prices, quoting Arif Husain, Chief Economist at the UN World Food Program, that, “High food prices are hunger’s new best friend.” Overall, the WFP paid 13 percent more for wheat for food relief, during the first four months of 2021, than it paid in 2020. Individual countries—especially the poor and food-import dependent, are experiencing terrible price shocks. The release gave many examples, from the recent WFP Market Monitor:

Lebanon: The price of wheat flour here from March through May was 50% higher than the previous three months. The year-on-year price rise was 219%.

Syria: The price of cooking oil March through May rose nearly 60% from the prior three months. Cooking oil year-on-year has increased in price by 440%.

Mozambique: The price of cassava March through May shot up by 45% over the prior three-month period. Mozambique is among what the WFP calls the “high food price hot spots” in Africa.


Fauci: 99.2% of June U.S. COVID Deaths Were Unvaccinated People

Fauci: 99.2% of June U.S. COVID Deaths Were Unvaccinated People

July 8, 2021 (EIRNS)–The ideological insanity of people who either refuse to get COVID-19 vaccines, or who preach to others not to get the vaccine, is producing a forecastable result: death from SARS-CoV-2.

On July 4, Dr. Antony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the NBC News Meet the Press program. Host Chuck Todd asked Dr. Fauci,

“It’s disconcerting to realize that we have had nearly 10,000 people die of COVID in this most recent month that we completed in June. How preventable were each one of those deaths? And how many of them were unvaccinated?”

Fauci responded, “Well, if you look at the number of deaths [in June], about 99.2% of them are unvaccinated. About 0.8% are vaccinated. No vaccine is perfect. But when you talk about the avoidability of hospitalization and death, Chuck, it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable… The overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated. Which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable.”

Fauci continued: “Over the decades that I’ve been doing this, you’re frustrated because you have diseases where you don’t have an appropriate countermeasure, be it prevention or a treatment. And then when you have a situation like you have today, where you have a formidable enemy in the virus that has tragically really disrupted our planet now for about a year and a half, destructive — destroyed economies, ….and yet we do have a countermeasure that’s highly, highly effective. And that’s the reason why it’s all the more sad … And whatever the reasons, … some of them are ideologic, some of them are just fundamentally anti-vax or anti-science or what have you. But, you know, we just need to put that aside now. We’re dealing with a historic situation with this pandemic. And we do have the tools to counter it.”

He added that, “There are people throughout the world who would do anything to get vaccines.”

On July 1, at a briefing at the White House by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control, said, “Preliminary data from a collection of states over the last six months suggest 99.5% of deaths from COVID-19 in these states have occurred in unvaccinated people.” Even though this covered a period at the beginning of the year when vaccines were not generally available, the numbers remain impressive.


WHO Briefers Angry at Lack of Health Infrastructure in the War vs. COVID-19

WHO Briefers Angry at Lack of Health Infrastructure in the War vs. COVID-19

July 6, 2021 (EIRNS)—The World Health Organization’s Mike Ryan and Maria Von Kerkhove answered questions for the public on Monday and allowed some of their frustration and anger to show. First on Monday: While new cases worldwide have stabilized, they have done so at an uncomfortably high level; this, in fact, reflects a dangerously unstable situation. While new cases in the Americas declined (13%), they raced upwards in Africa (15%) and Europe (28%). This last week had twenty countries undergoing sharp rises. Basically, the point of impact simply shifted. The two WHO specialists cited three interacting factors: uneven vaccination levels, the spread of the Delta variant, and social relaxing.

Then the anger: The WHO teams are fighting on the front lines. We’re really humanitarians, and we won’t give up. But the vaccines aren’t coming as they should, or even as promised. “The cavalry is not coming.” This destroys morale. So, people then give up, go back to work and accept what fate will bring them. What is needed is to build and invest in systems now—don’t wait for the next surge. A system involves: surveillance systems, testing in place, isolation, clinical care, contact tracing or at least cluster investigations and such; so that we can find out where the enemy is and go after it. Those systems need to be built now, and the wealthier West is not even doing it for their own populations. Their admonitions are an echo of Helga Zepp LaRouche’s 2020 call for a new global health platform for each country.

Ryan stressed that there were enough vaccines in the world right now to inoculate all the “at-risk” categories and the medical personnel. Kerkhove stressed that enough is known about the workings of the coronavirus to design a comprehensive war plan against it. It seems that the first 18 months of the battle finds the immaturity of political culture is no match for the reality of the virus.


Beasley Calls on Branson, Musk, and Bezos for $6 Billion To End Starvation

Over the weekend, World Food Program Director David Beasley sent out a tweet, reiterating his frequent call on billionaires to step up to meet the $6 billion more needed this year to roll back hunger and prevent starvation. But this time he named names. He included in his tweet the June 26 CNN video story, “Bezos vs. Branson: Billionaires Battle Over Being First in Space.” Beasley tweeted June 26:
            “Hey, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, so excited to see you compete on who gets to space first! BUT, I would love to see you TEAM up together to save the 41 million people who are about to starve this year on Earth! It only takes $6 billion. We can solve this quickly!”

The financial worth of these three, according to Global Citizen: Branson, $6.3 billion; Musk, $165.9 billion; and Bezos $192.6 billion.


El Salvador Government: Responsible for Clean Water, Decent Hospitals

El Salvador Asserts Government Responsibility for Clean Water, Decent Hospitals

June 23, 2021 (EIRNS)—Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele sent a draft Water Bill to the National Assembly on June 19, which declares affordable access to clean water to be a human right, which it is the government’s responsibility to secure. Given the fact that the government’s “New Ideas” party has a majority in the Assembly, the bill could pass within 90 days. The bill’s Article I asserts the crucial principle:

“Article 1. The human right to water and sanitation is the right of all people to have sufficient, healthy, safe, acceptable, clean water available to them, accessible in amount, quality, continuity and coverage at an affordable price.

“The State, in all its basic authorities and institutions of Government has the obligation and paramount responsibility to guarantee, without any discrimination whatsoever among persons, the effective enjoyment of the human right to potable water and sanitation for its population, for which purpose it must adopt all policies, legislation and measures which lead to the full realization of this right.”

It is no wonder that most Salvadorans are now more optimistic about their future than they have been for decades. The Bukele government at the same time is celebrating the arrival of enough new, modern hospital beds to replace 50% of the existing beds in the country’s public hospitals. Those new beds are already being distributed around the country. The other 50% of old beds will be replaced in the second phase. Pictures of the existing decrepit beds, many dating back to the 1950’s, are sickening. As President Bukele pointed out: these beds have been used during 10 governments—not counting the coups d’etat.


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