Texas Team Applauded For Giving What Big Pharma Refuses

A small team of Texas researchers is being hailed for developing an unpatented Covid-19 vaccine to share with the world without personal profit, with some advocates asking, if they can do it, why can’t Big Pharma?

Dubbed “the World’s Covid vaccine,” the inoculation—formally called Cobervax—is an open-source alternative to Big Pharma’s patent-protected vaccines. Instead of being produced for profit, this shot could ultimately be manufactured around the world and made cheaply available to all without governmental or private legal retribution.

Common Dreams reported this week that Cobervax—developed jointly by Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston’s Baylor College, and the Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E. Limited—was authorized for emergency use in India amid a surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

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Abandoned Indianapolis School Reclaimed

Indianapolis, IN – A pastor is leading the charge of reclaiming an abandoned school and creating a community-and-trades center on the east side of Indianapolis. Pastor Denell Howard’s vision of The Evolve Education Center is slowly coming to fruition after years of planning, praying and a community effort to fix the building up. Requiring about a half million dollars to get the lights turned on, the center needs the help of the broader community to generate enough resources together.

A volunteer named Stan, who spent months cleaning up the building, gave Unicorn Riot a tour of the reclaimed school in July 2021. We heard from Stan and Pastor Howard about their vision for the center and the work they’ve done up to that point.

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2021 Latin America And The Caribbean In Review: The Pink Tide Rises Again

US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean continued in a seamless transition from Trump to Biden, but the terrain over which it operated shifted left. The balance between the US drive to dominate its “backyard” and its counterpart, the Bolivarian cause of regional independence and integration, continued to tip portside in 2021 with major popular electoral victories in Chile, Honduras, and Peru. These follow the previous year’s reversal of the coup in Bolivia.

Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity.

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Germany One Step Closer To Nuclear-Free Future

Green groups on Friday celebrated as Germany prepared to shut down three of its six remaining nuclear power plants, part of that country’s ambitious goal of transitioning to mostly renewable energy by the end of the decade.

The nuclear phaseout—which was proposed by the center-left government of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the turn of the century and accelerated under former Chancellor Angela Merkel following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan—is a key component of a plan by Germany’s new Social Democrat, Green, and Free Democrat governing coalition to produce 80% of the country’s power from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Renewables accounted for 43% of German electricity consumption through the first three quarters of 2021, down from 48% during the same period last year, according to Clean Energy Wire.

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Mutual Aid Groups Try To Keep Unhoused Neighbors Alive In The Snow

While the City of Seattle swept her home at Ballard Commons, an unhoused woman cried out to the city workers, mutual aid groups, and other community members packing up the park.

“Why don’t they come up with a solution that actually makes sense?” she said of the city. “Put people indoors. Do they think we want to be out here in the middle of winter? No! We’re not crazy.”

That was three weeks ago. It was 40 degrees that day.

Monday, Dec. 27, the city shivered under a high of 23 degrees, the coldest day in 31 years. The risk associated with hypothermia in the cold weather was greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. That afternoon, Dr. Stephen Morris, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UW Medicine, told the Seattle Times that Harborview Medical Center saw one cold weather-related death, two “critically ill” patients, and approximately six people admitted for hypothermia.

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A Dream Of A Fossil Fuel-Free Neighborhood Meets Constraints

Dar-Lon Chang moved to this Denver suburb to start a new life.

In Houston, he’d spent 16 years as an engineer at ExxonMobil, the nation’s largest fossil fuel producer. In Colorado, he planned to pursue a career in renewable energy, but the real draw was his new house.

Oriented towards the sun, with solar panels on the roof and high-performing insulation, it was capable of generating as much carbon-free energy as it consumed. What little heating and cooling it required came from an efficient, all-electric heat pump.

Through these parallel tracks—the domestic and the professional—he and his family would become part of the climate solution, he hoped, rather than participating in its destruction.

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Iran Is Spearheading A Geopolitical Sea Change In West Asia

Benjamin Franklin once famously wrote to his fellow colonials: “Either we hang together or we hang separately.”

Those words are just as true today as they were 270 years ago, for empires have always controlled by dividing their victims into regional tribal interests in order to be better conquered.

While techniques have adapted to modern times, the essential ingredients for the science of discord remain relatively unchanged: keep resources scarce, fear and ignorance high, and let a targeted population clash over diminishing returns of scarcity.

Amid this division, myopic ethnic, religious, and linguistic prejudices have fertile soil to grow to the benefit of an oligarchic elite.

Today’s Americans, sitting as they are on the precipice of a their own internal civil clashes, and economic collapse more broadly, have not heeded the advice of their own founding fathers well enough.

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The Massachusetts Flag Glorifies Violence Committed By Colonizers

Given the violent history of English colonizers in New England, it’s a wonder why the state insignia of Massachusetts, fully emblazoned on today’s state flag, still includes a sword dangling over the head of a Native American.

It was a little more than 30 years ago when the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority got rid of its offensive logo that featured a pilgrim’s hat with a Native American arrow shot through the middle of it.

The state insignia still stands, and like many campaigns to rid schools and towns of demeaning mascots and public statues, the efforts to remove it starts with an accurate version of history. In the case of the Mass Pike logo, it started with a letter-writing campaign by second graders learning about the history of Plymouth Plantation in 1620.

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Improvements For NYC’s Delivery Workers’ Safety And Working Conditions To Start In January

A slate of city laws for delivery workers is set to kick in the new year and will roll out in stages, commencing in January with more oversight of the delivery apps and increased transparency for the more than 65,000 delivery workers in New York City.

Starting next month, delivery apps must be licensed by the city to operate in the five boroughs. By January 24th, licensed apps that take customer orders directly will be required to notify delivery workers how much each customer tips for each delivery, and the total pay and tips for the previous day. The city will now require that restaurants provide the delivery workers with better access to restrooms.

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Philippe Sands Makes The Case For A New International Crime Called Ecocide

The British Lawyer And Author Has Held Nazis And Presidents Accountable For Crossing The Moral Red Line. Now, He Argues, The Time Has Come To Pursue Those Who Commit Crimes Against The Environment. His lectures are part of a global campaign, led by Stop Ecocide International, to make acts of mass environmental destruction a crime within the purview of the International Criminal Court, which has a mandate to investigate and prosecute individuals who otherwise would evade accountability after committing the most serious crimes of concern to humanity at large.

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The Real Antidote To Inflation

The Federal Reserve is caught between a rock and a hard place. Inflation grew by 6.8% in November, the fastest in 40 years, a trend the Fed has now acknowledged is not “transitory.” The conventional theory is that inflation is due to too much money chasing too few goods, so the Fed is under heavy pressure to “tighten” or shrink the money supply. Its conventional tools for this purpose are to reduce asset purchases and raise interest rates. But corporate debt has risen by $1.3 trillion just since early 2020; so if the Fed raises rates, a massive wave of defaults is likely to result. According to financial advisor Graham Summers in an article titled “The Fed Is About to Start Playing with Matches Next to a $30 Trillion Debt Bomb,” the stock market could collapse by as much as 50%. 

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Peru Ratifies UN Treaty On The Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons

Addressing the UN General Assembly this September, the minister of foreign affairs of Peru, Óscar Maúrtua, hailed the TPNW’s entry into force as a “great achievement” and “a legal and moral starting point on a long road to achieve nuclear disarmament”.

Peru is the 14th country in Latin America to ratify the TPNW, following Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, and Chile. An additional four countries in the region have signed but not yet ratified the treaty: Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

Gisela Luján Andrade, Peruvian member of the Human Security Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC), an ICAN partner organisation, warmly welcomed Peru’s ratification.

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Stoney Nakoda Language Resources Launched To Preserve Language

The Stoney Education Authority (SEA), with support from The Language Conservancy, is releasing historic Stoney Nakoda language learning resources this December. This release includes three picture books, a Level 1 textbook, and an alphabet colouring book. The release also includes several digital resources: a 9,000-word web and mobile dictionary, a textbook-accompanying media player app, and a vocabulary-building app.

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20th ALBA-TCP Summit Declaration

The Heads of State and Government and the Heads of Delegations of the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), meet in Havana, Cuba, on December 14, 2021 to commemorate the 17th Anniversary of the Alliance. In signing this Declaration, we renew our commitment to strengthen this mechanism of political coordination based on the principles of solidarity, social justice, cooperation and economic complementarity, a result of the political will of its founders, the Commanders Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías.

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Barbados Has Thrown Off Its Colonial Shackles

The island was so central to Britain’s transatlantic slave trade system it was commonly referred to as ‘Little England’. Today, Barbados marks a defining break from 400 years of British rule. While there are still many challenges in overhauling all structures of governance inherited by the colonial system, Barbadians should be proud of this moment.

Barbados has completed its transition to a republican system of government. From 30 November, which marks the 55th anniversary of its independence from Britain, Barbados’s head of state is no longer the British Queen. The word ‘royal’ will be removed from the names of its institutions, which will no longer bear the insignia of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In her place, the tiny Caribbean island has its first elected president, Dame Sandra Mason, who represents the Barbadian struggle for self-determination and whose term won’t last a lifetime.

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