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US, Russia agree on dismantling Syria chemical weapons

daily alternative | alternative news - US, Russia agree on dismantling Syria chem weapons

Assad’s government must submit a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons stocks within a week; this is to come ahead of their transfer and destruction, US Secretary John Kerry said at a joint press conference with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov.

The deal worked out between Moscow and Washington on settling the Syria crisis stipulates that Syria’s chemical weapons will be rapidly destroyed.

Kerry said the Syrian government should provide the UN with full access to its chemical sites, and insisted that the plan to remove the chemical arsenal should be transparent. It remains undecided which side or country will actually work at destroying the stock; the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will have to look into that.

On the timetable, Kerry said UN inspectors must be on the ground no later than November, while the destruction of chemical weapons must be completed by the middle of 2014. It remains undecided which country will actually do the work of destroying the chemical weapons.

“Providing this framework is fully implemented it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but also their neighbors,” Kerry said adding that Russian and US teams of experts had reached “a shared assessment” of the existing stockpile and that Syria must destroy all of its weapons. It was possible that the Syrian rebels have some chemical weapons, he acknowledged.

If Damascus fails to comply with the plan, a response in accordance with UN Charter Chapter 7 will follow, Kerry said, in a reference to the use of military force. The chapter provides for “action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security” in the event other measures fail.

But Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said the deal did not include any potential use of force against Syria. He however said that deviations from the plan, including attacks on UN inspectors, would be brought to the UN Security Council, which would decide on further action.

There is no prior agreement about what form the Security Council’s measures might take if Syria does not comply, Kerry said.

Both the Syrian government and opposition forces in the country will be responsible for the safety of UN inspectors, Lavrov said.

The closing remarks mark the end of three-day negotiations between Kerry and Lavrov. Earlier the parties stated the only solution to the ongoing Syrian crisis lies within the framework of the “Geneva-2” peace talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently said the proposal could only succeed if the US and its allies calls off military strikes.

 

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Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly

A report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns,[1] challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.

The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese “strategic partner” of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.

The Physicians commented: “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.”

They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.

Since 2014, the insecticide Pyriproxyfen has been use to kill mosquitos in water tanks in Brazil

Larvicide the most likely culprit in birth defects

Pyriproxyfen is a relatively new introduction to the Brazilian environment; the microcephaly increase is a relatively new phenomenon. So the larvicide seems a plausible causative factor in microcephaly – far more so than GM mosquitoes, which some have blamed for the Zika epidemic and thus for the birth defects. There is no sound evidence to support the notion promoted by some sources that GM mosquitoes can cause Zika, which in turn can cause microcephaly. In fact, out of 404 confirmed microcephaly cases in Brazil, only 17 (4.2%) tested positive for the Zika virus.

Brazilian health experts agree Pyriproxyfen is chief suspect

The Argentine Physicians’ report, which also addresses the Dengue fever epidemic in Brazil, concurs with the findings of a separate report on the Zika outbreak by the Brazilian doctors’ and public health researchers’ organisation, Abrasco.[2]

Abrasco also names Pyriproxyfen as a likely cause of the microcephaly. It condemns the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, which it says is contaminating the environment as well as people and is not decreasing the numbers of mosquitoes. Abrasco suggests that this strategy is in fact driven by the commercial interests of the chemical industry, which it says is deeply integrated into the Latin American ministries of health, as well as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation.

Abrasco names the British GM insect company Oxitec as part of the corporate lobby that is distorting the facts about Zika to suit its own profit-making agenda. Oxitec sells GM mosquitoes engineered for sterility and markets them as a disease-combatting product – a strategy condemned by the Argentine Physicians as “a total failure, except for the company supplying mosquitoes”.

The poor suffer most

Both the Brazilian and Argentine doctors’ and researchers’ associations agree that poverty is a key neglected factor in the Zika epidemic. Abrasco condemned the Brazilian government for its “deliberate concealment” of economic and social causes: “In Argentina and across America the poorest populations with the least access to sanitation and safe water suffer most from the outbreak.” The Argentine Physicians agreed, stating, “The basis of the progress of the disease lies in inequality and poverty.”

Abrasco added that the disease is closely linked to environmental degradation: floods caused by logging and the massive use of herbicides on (GM) herbicide-tolerant soy crops – in short, “the impacts of extractive industries”.

The notion that environmental degradation may a factor in the spread of Zika finds backing in the view of Dino Martins, PhD, a Kenyan entomologist. Martins said that “the explosion of mosquitoes in urban areas, which is driving the Zika crisis” is caused by “a lack of natural diversity that would otherwise keep mosquito populations under control, and the proliferation of waste and lack of disposal in some areas which provide artificial habitat for breeding mosquitoes”.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly

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