Malnourished children should not be given vaccination as their immune system cannot respond with antibodies which are proteins
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” — George Orwell
Vaccination is for the whole society while drugs to treat illnesses are for a small cohort of the sick at a given time. Obviously, big business will be more interested in vaccination than drugs. But how much of it is beneficial? Lifelong immunity after an infection is accepted science but immunity from attenuated or dead germs is still only a hypothesis.
We have devised an ingenious method of claiming that we have won the war on polio or any other illness—by changing the name of any such disease after the last case was reported. We have a new disease in India, acute non-polio paralytic illness. What is that label? Developing immunity against any illness is the job of our immune system.
Our immune system needs serum proteins for its good health. Naturally, malnourished children, of whom India has the lion’s share in the world, cannot, and should not, be given any vaccination as their immune system cannot normally respond with antibodies which are proteins. Malnourished children must be treated for their malnutrition before being vaccinated. Oral live polio vaccine drops, Japanese encephalitis vaccination and many others are not only useless but dangerous for malnourished children.
Now comes a bombshell from a prestigious government teaching institute where an upcoming young teacher, who has superb academic credentials, has been denied his due promotion as he had written some excellent scientific articles on the rational use of vaccines which had embarrassed the government policymakers. Unfortunately, the details of this problem cannot be revealed as the young teacher fears for his career. It brings to mind that half-page article by Dr Pushpa Bhargava, the then deputy chairperson of Indian Knowledge Commission, in The Hindu some years ago titled Politics of Polio. Dr Bhargava later resigned from his job because of his strong views against polio vaccines for malnourished kids.
I can understand the government’s attitude as they are more interested in the health of the corporate segment and the pharma industry rather than the health of the poor malnourished and dying kids. The latter have no votes anyway! Our sarakari scientists are there to dance to the tune of their political masters to hang on to their posts and also to get ‘cushy’ parking lots after retirement. Many of them manage to get a stint at the WHO or UNESCO, thanks to their earlier connections.
The WHO has even tried to dilute the diagnostic criteria of vaccine-related deaths and disability. What worries a thinking person is the apathy of our so-called champions of freedom of speech and our guardians of science. If science is echoing the sentiments of our masters in the government, science becomes another fanatical religion. We seem to have twisted our definition of vaccine-related deaths and disability to suit the industry.
When small matters like banning a book or so crop up, the great champions of freedom of speech jump in to condemn such a ban. But when people play with human lives to make money, the whistleblowers are not backed by anyone!
Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.
All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences
Ten months after Edward Snowden's first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one proposal favored by civil libertarians.
All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences – and a lot they don't do. Here's a rundown.
President Obama's proposal
What it would do: As described, the president's proposal would prohibit the collection of bulk phone records. Instead, the government would seek individualized court orders every time it wants American phone metadata. The government would get the data from telecoms, which already keep it for at least 18 months.
The proposal would solidify some changes Obama has already made: For instance, since January, analysts have needed to get court approval before searching the phone records database. Also, NSA analysts have only been able to obtain records from people who are two "hops" away from a surveillance target – a target's friends' friends – rather than three "hops" away. Obama's proposal would make both of those policies law.
What it wouldn't do: It's hard to know. The White House hasn't released the actual text of the legislation, and lawmakers have yet to introduce it in Congress. But privacy advocates do have a lot of questions.
One thing the president hasn't proposed: ending the bulk phone records program now. He could do that without any vote if he simply stopped asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reauthorize the program, as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has suggested.
The secret surveillance court's last 90-day order for Verizon phone records has expired. President Obama reportedly wants the court to renew the program at least one more time, to give Congress a chance to pass new legislation. Until Congress acts, the NSA will continue collecting American phone records in bulk.
Of course, if President Obama were to act unilaterally, another president could later reverse his changes. If Congress passes his proposal, his reforms will have the force of law.
The president's proposal also appears to address only one of the NSA's many surveillance programs. It doesn't seem to change the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to sweep up foreigners' communications without a warrant. In the process, the NSA "incidentally" collects Americans' communications.
In January, Obama said he would ask the Justice Department to limit the government's authority to use any American communications collected while targeting foreigners. The administration has not offered any details yet. However, even the Senate's biggest NSA critics say the FISA Amendments Act has been an effective counter-terrorism tool, so Congress is unlikely to repeal it.
FISA Transparency and Modernization Act
What it would do: very little to limit surveillance. Introduced by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, this bill represents the wishes of the NSA's biggest defenders in Congress.
The bill nominally bans the government's bulk collection of phone records. Like Obama's plan, telecoms would keep the records, but this in proposal, the government could request the records without a court order.
The bill also says it would prohibit the government from indiscriminate collection of other kinds of data, including "library circulation records," "firearm sales records," and "tax return records." But the government could still use search terms to get the records it wants.
What else it would do: roll back current protections in the law. The legislation would no longer require that the government get a court order before obtaining American records. Instead, the secret surveillance court would review the privacy procedures before the Justice Department collects any records, and the court could also tell the government to stop collecting records after the fact.
Also, under current law, the government needs to show that records are related to foreign terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Rogers' bill would change that standard, requiring the government to show that records are for an individual who is associated with a "foreign power" – a broad term that includes terrorist groups, foreign governments and foreign political groups.
If the bill passes, a lot would depend on how the secret surveillance court interprets it. For instance, what kinds of "selection terms" could the government use to search for records? The broader the search terms, the more likely it is that innocent people will get caught in the dragnet.
Finally, Rogers' bill would not amend the FISA Amendments Act. "I don't believe that foreign collection on foreign soil is something that we need to change," Rogers said.
This bill has House Speaker John Boehner's support.
USA Freedom Act
What it would do: A lot. First, the bill's authors, Democratic senator Leahy and Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., say the legislation would end all bulk collection of American records. To do so, they'd narrow the language in the Patriot Act to require that the government only collects records that are " relevant and material" to an authorized investigation. To qualify, an investigation must be related to foreign terrorism or clandestine activities, and the records must directly "pertain" to a foreign power.
The proposal would also close a so-called backdoor loophole that allows the NSA to search its databases for the content of Americans' communications. Under the new bill, analysts would need an individualized warrant to access any domestic content collected "incidentally."
In addition, the lawmakers would also tighten oversight of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that lets the FBI obtain records related to "national security" without a court order. The idea is to make sure that the government can't use the national security letters law to justify bulk collection of American records in the future.
However, some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute. While this bill's language is narrower than current law, we now know the secret surveillance court has interpreted the Patriot Act very broadly. The EFF has suggested that the bill's sponsors make their intent more explicit.
This bill has by far the most co-sponsors, but its prospects are uncertain – it was introduced in October, and it still hasn't reached the floor.
Lack of liquidity, dodgy loans and the lack of a central government guarantee is a sure fire recipe for a collapse. The question is not whether there will be more runs on small banks like Jiangsu Shenyan Rural Commercial Bank. The question is whether there will be enough of them to metastasize and affect the entire Chinese financial system
Recently something happened that should not have. A bank in China experienced a run. Last month, China had its first bond default. Now rumours started that the Jiangsu Shenyan Rural Commercial Bank was on the verge of collapse. Lines formed outside one of its branches as depositors were desperate to withdraw funds.
The bank did all it could to reassure depositors. It promised to operate 24 hours to serve customers. It piled up stacks of money in the windows to prove it was solvent. The governor of Shenyang County, north of Beijing, promised the depositors that their money was safe. Finally the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) stepped in to assure that they would back up the bank.
The immediate crisis passed, but the problems still persist. The customers of the bank did have cause for concern. A few local credit cooperatives and loan guarantee companies have gone bust in Shenyang this year. They lost a total of Rmb 80 million ($13 million).
It would be easy to brush aside the bank run and the collapse of some lightly regulated rural credit companies. You could look at it as a purely local problem due to mismanagement. It could be dismissed as a tiny part of a much greater whole. Shenyang Bank managed only Rmb 12 billion ($2 billion). This represents just 0.01% of the total assets in the Chinese banking system.
If the problems were merely limited to one town and one bank, there wouldn’t be a cause for concern. But it isn’t. The troubles at Shenyang bank are just the most recent sign of a financial system under stress.
The stress is neither local nor small, because it stems from the same cause. Like every other government, China’s reaction to the 2009 recession was to provide massive stimulus. Unlike other governments, China did not use taxpayer money. It put lending quotas on state owned banks mandating loans mostly to local governments and state owned industries.
But there was another problem. The recession threw 20 million migrant labourers out of work. Unemployed workers returning back to their villages might have caused social unrest. So, the Chinese government, needed a way to get the stimulus money out into rural areas.
In 2009, there were only 100 rural banks, seven rural lending companies and 11 credit cooperatives in China. The number of banks increased ten folds to 1,027 by 2011. The number of rural cooperatives exploded to about 5,000 today. Firms originally began as micro lenders were allowed to become banks, if their non-performing loan ratio was under 2%, and they had profits for two years. In addition, the Ministry of Finance provided subsidies of 2% to healthy rural banks. Since this is China, these new banks provided loans to the lowest levels of local governments.
The rural lending institutions not only proliferated, they grew far faster than their urban counterparts. While the five largest state owned banks, Bank of China, Agricultural Bank, ICBC, China Construction Bank, and Bank of Communications, grew by 270% over the past ten years, the rural banks grew at 440%. They now make up 10% of the total Chinese financial system.
Like other Chinese financial institutions, the rural banks lent to local governments, but ultimately to the wrong local governments. The rural cooperatives and banks provide the bulk of credit to hundreds of millions of local farmers, but they also have close ties to financially strapped local governments below the provincial level. Many of these loans were made again as part of the 2009 stimulus packages. As the loans come due, many of these smaller government entities will have difficulty repaying.
The problem was highlighted by a regulation issued 8th March by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC). The CBRC’s latest regulation prohibits rural banks from providing fresh funding either directly to local governments or by purchasing investment vehicles issued by them including bonds, bills or trust products. This is going to be a major problem for the local governments since many will need to refinance those loans to keep current.
The size of these rural lenders and their main clients increases exponentially, the probability that they will be allowed to fail. The central government would certainly bail out a large national lender. The top 30 banks might be able to rely on provincial governments. But the smallest lenders are probably out of luck.
But problematic loans are not the only issue that concerns rural banks. They also have problems with the other side of the equation: deposits. Qichun County is in the province of Hubei near the city of Wuhan. It is rural county and its economy is based on growing herbs. It has a population of 1.03 million, but only a fraction of the population still farms. About 80% of the working age population migrates to the coastal cities in Guangdong and Fujian. They don’t bank at the local banks in Qichun. They have debit cards issued from banks in large coastal cities, which allow them to transfer funds back home. The local banks also do not have savings books products.
Without a steady deposit base, rural banks have to rely on the interbank market. The rates in this market have been exceptionally volatile since the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) started tightening interest rates last year.
The interbank market is far more expensive for the rural banks. It is partially funded by new money market products provided by Yu’E Bao, or “Leftover Treasure”. Yu’E Bao was created by internet giants like Alibaba. It’s growth exploded. It now has 81 million depositors and Rmb 500 billion ($81 billion) assets under management. The reason is simple. It gives savers 6% far above the 3.3% capped interest provided by the state banks. Rural banks therefore can tap the interbank markets, but at interest rates that eat into their margins. They cannot take advantage of the capped rates that help subsidize the large state banks.
Lack of liquidity, dodgy loans and the lack of a central government guarantee is a sure fire recipe for a collapse. The question is not whether there will be more runs on small banks like Jiangsu Shenyan Rural Commercial Bank. There will be. The question is whether there will be enough of them to metastasize and affect the entire financial system.
(William Gamble is president of Emerging Market Strategies. An international lawyer and economist, he developed his theories beginning with his first-hand experience and business dealings in the Russia starting in 1993. Mr Gamble holds two graduate law degrees. He was educated at Institute D'Etudes Politique, Trinity College, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He was a member of the bar in three states, over four different federal courts and has spoken four languages.)