Permalink Massive Peer-Reviewed Mask Study Shows 'Little To No Difference' In Preventing COVID, Flu Infection

A massive international research collaboration that analyzed several dozen rigorous studies focusing on "physical interventions" against COVID-19 and influenza found that they provide little to no protection against infection or illness rates. | The study, published in the peer-reviewed Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, is the strongest science to date refuting the basis for mask mandates worldwide. And of course, the CDC still recommends masking in areas with "high" rates of transmission (fewer than 4% of US counties, as Just the News notes), along with indoor masking in areas with "medium" rates of transmission (27%).  According to the Cochrane study, which included the work of researchers at institutions in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia, a total of 78 studies were analyzed. Most recent additions to the meta-analysis were 11 new randomized controlled trials As unlisted study author Carl Heneghan - who directs the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford noted on Twitter: "Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza‐like illness (ILI)/COVID‐19 like illness compared to not wearing masks."

Permalink The Ukraine Conflict — A Primer (Gonzalo Lira)

I like Gonzalo Lira’s videos A LOT, but today I am posting one without seeing it (I don’t have the time), so I cannot say that I approve (or disapprove) of what he says. If you disagree with X he says, please don’t blame me :-) That being said, I am pretty sure that he will be spot on. Andrei

Permalink Sweden and Turkey Find Massive Rare Earth Deposits, Threatening China

Sweden and Turkey announced large discoveries of rare earth minerals this month. Sweden’s discovery in particular could be a major step toward breaking Chinese dominance in the rare earth industry. | Rare earth minerals are used in numerous high-tech products, notably including “green energy” systems and electric vehicles (EV). Efforts by Western governments to forcibly transition their economies to wind turbines, solar power, and electric cars have dramatically increased the demand for these minerals and China is the dominant supplier.  Communist China has a history of using economic leverage to achieve its authoritarian political goals and it does not particularly care what environmental or human rights activists think about the ecological impact or labor policies of its mining operations.

Norway Discovers Abundance of Costly Rare Earths on Its Seabed (01/31/23)

Permalink Poll reveals most Finns back joining NATO without Sweden

A point worth highlighting is that different age groups have different views on the issue | More than half of the Finnish population believes that the Nordic country should join NATO without waiting for Sweden, according to a poll conducted by Taloustutkimus from January 30 to February 1 among 1,000 adult Finns aged 18-79.  The poll’s results noted that 53% of Finns believed that Finland's entry to NATO should not depend on the ratification of Sweden's membership. "This is a clear political signal from the public to the decision-makers that the NATO issue must be resolved as soon as possible. There is no way back," top pollster Juho Rahkonen said. Nevertheless, 28% of the respondents think that Finland should join NATO together with Sweden, while 19% could not answer the question.  The older population tends to think that Finland should wait for Sweden. "According to their world view, cooperation between the Nordic countries is more important than for young people," Rahkonen noted.  Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership, however, their entry bid was immediately stonewalled by Ankara who demanded that the Nordic countries officially declare Kurdish organizations as terrorist entities, extradite persons to Turkey, who are accused of terrorist activity or aiding and abetting the 2016 coup d’etat attempt, along with removing bans on arms supplies to Turkey.  Pekka Haavisto, Helsinki’s top diplomat, [...] revealed that Finland was ready to consider joining NATO separately from Sweden if the ratification process for Stockholm’s bid dragged on indefinitely. His statement, however, was later retracted.

Finnish FM backtracks on NATO comment (01/25/23)

Permalink Norwegians Jeer as NATO Boss Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

According to Alfred Nobel's will, the peace prize should go "to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses" - a definition hardly met by the leader of the world's largest military alliance. | As the deadline for nominating candidates for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has expired, a Norwegian MP from the populist Progress Party Christian Tybring-Gjedde has admitted that he was the one who proposed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for the award.  Justifying his choice, Tybring-Gjedde claimed that Stoltenberg "managed to bring NATO together at a very important and demanding time, which is perhaps the biggest crisis since the Second World War." He also lauded Stoltenberg for "acting diplomatically" in defending Swedish and Finnish membership, while at the same time "showing an understanding" of Turkey’s objections.  In an interview with Norwegian media, Tybring-Gjedde said he saw no paradox in nominating a leader of a military alliance for a peace prize, stressing that Alfred Nobel, the founder of the prize, maintained that "actively seeking peace" was the main criteria. This despite the fact that members of NATO are actively fanning the flames of the Ukraine conflict by donating arms and providing military training to Kiev.

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