Prime Minister under pressure: May issues Brexit statement in parliament

Barely a month before the planned withdrawal from the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to bring the London delegates up to date on the Brexit talks.

On Wednesday, parliamentarians once again have the opportunity to vote on how to proceed. However, May came under further pressure after the opposition Labor Party announced on Monday evening that it now supports the call for a second Brexit referendum.

So far, the head of government has been trying in vain to rectify the withdrawal agreement negotiated with Brussels. A renewed vote on the January by the parliament overwhelmingly rejected deal excluded May therefore this week. However, it promised to re-vote the agreement by 12 March.

May wants to avert a looming revolt in the camp of the EU-friendly MPs in their group. Dozens of Tory MPs and several ministers threaten to wrest control of the case from the head of the government on Wednesday if they do not consider extending the moratorium. They want to prevent the danger of an unregulated Brexit with drastic consequences for the economy and many other areas of life. Britain wants to leave EU on 29th March. May rejects a shift so far categorically.

Brexit hangs like dark cloud over British hospitals

While the word 'procrastination' begins to fall into the brexit file, British hospitals are very concerned about a no-deal. Also the hospital in London where the Dutch Marcel Levi has been director for two years. Instead of caring for patients, the brexit is at the top of his list of priorities.

Correspondent Tim de Wit visits the former AMC boss, whose worries are growing by the day. “Until about a month ago, the atmosphere was actually quite relaxed, everyone thought that there would be a deal,” says Levi. “The message from it Department of Health was also reassuring. But now there is a kind of change in that. “

If there is no agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom before March 29, the British will leave the EU without appointments. A scenario that can have disastrous consequences. For example for the stocks of hospitals. Remarkably, Levi is not the most worried about an impending shortage of medicines.

“In the warehouse of our hospital there is always a storage of every medicine for at least six weeks, so if there are deficiencies, you see that coming in. But for for example bandages, suture materials or certain catheters and probes that we use, the stock is just one two days big. “

Also rugbyers and skaters benefit from concussion poli of KNVB

The KNVB continues to accompany footballers who have suffered a concussion on the field. With that, the football association gives a follow-up to last year's test. Then the union opened a concussion clinic for football players with long-term complaints.

The poli clearly meets a need, says the KNVB. Seventy athletes used it in the past year. Not only footballers, but also rugbyers and skaters.

In general, athletes react positively to the program, says sports doctor Edwin Goedhart. “You can not make everyone better, but a large number of people now have fewer complaints, and some are even free of complaints.”

Goedhart: “We get better insight from the athletes into what works and what does not happen in the case of concussions, so if we have properly mapped it, we can give that back to doctors and people on the sports fields.”

The story of former professional Rianne Schorel

The KNVB clinic came too late for Rianne Schorel. When she played in the first of ADO Den Haag in 2007, she got a ball wrong on her head and suffered a concussion. Rianne played the game, but was no longer the old and even had to stop playing football.

To save others from what happened to her, she started a brain training center with her twin sister. Watch her story in the video below:

Glyphosate: Roundup again on trial in the United States

Monsanto's famous Roundup weedkiller, accused by its critics of being a carcinogen, finds itself on trial again on Monday in the United States, six months after a first-ever landmark lawsuit filed and won by a sick gardener.

After Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, an American with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, another Californian, Edwin Hardeman, accuses the glyphosate product of having contributed to his cancer, the same type as that of Mr. Johnson.

The resident of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco (West), says he has used Roundup extensively to weed his property since the 1980s until 2012, according to his lawyers. He filed a complaint against Monsanto early 2016, one year after being diagnosed.

According to the complaint, the agro-chemical giant (now owned by the German Bayer) “knew or had the elements to know that Roundup was defective and not safe” and that it could “lead to cancer or other diseases or serious injury “.

“The information that Monsanto provided (…) did not contain adequate warnings and precautions that would have allowed Mr. Hardeman (…) to use the product in a safe manner,” the complainant's lawyers added. also accuse the firm “of having disseminated false, false and misleading information”.

Monsanto, which has been selling Roundup worldwide for more than 40 years, still sticks to its line of defense: its products are not dangerous if you respect the conditions of use, and hundreds of scientific studies prove.

This new trial, also held in San Francisco, is the first to open at the federal level, the Johnson case remained at the level of California.

He is legally bound to these hundreds of others against Roundup across the United States (a same judge oversaw the pre-trial proceedings before referring each case back to his jurisdiction) brought by plaintiffs who also accuse him of the weed killer. have caused their cancer.

Glyphosate (AFP - Alain BOMMENEL, Laurence SAUBADU, Kun TIAN)

Glyphosate (AFP – Alain BOMMENEL, Laurence SAUBADU, Kun TIAN)

Without being a class action (“class action”) since the lawsuits will be distinct, the judgment that will emerge from it will give an important sign to the other jurisdictions and will serve as a “test”.

The precedent of the Johnson trial should of course be in everyone's mind during these debates, which should last four to five weeks.

In August, a popular jury sentenced Monsanto to pay $ 289 million in compensatory and “punitive” damages, finding that his product had contributed significantly to the plaintiff's illness and that he had knowingly failed to warn of the risks.

This historic verdict – this was the first roundup trial – sparked an avalanche of reactions around the world.

In October, however, a judge reduced these amounts to $ 78.5 million, finding the jury's decision disproportionate, but without going back on the substance of the verdict for which Bayer appealed.

– A two-step trial –

At Bayer's request, the Hardeman trial will be conducted in two phases: a first phase will test whether Roundup is responsible for the complainant's cancer. If the jury thinks this is the case, it will have to decide whether or not Monsanto has a liability (because it would have known but hidden the risks) and if so, what are the damages to be paid.

For the judge, the split of the debate is supposed to help the jury to decide the eventual responsibility of the product, without being influenced by the reputation of Monsanto, which has a more than controversial image in the world, accused notably of having manipulated studies .

It is therefore during the first phase that both parties will oppose complex scientific studies, the defense claiming that they prove the safety of glyphosate, the complainant claiming that they are biased and prove nothing.

Praised by farmers for its efficiency and low cost, glyphosate is particularly controversial in Europe and especially in France.

To add to the complexity of the subject, the molecule is the subject of contradictory decisions around the world.

Unlike the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), glyphosate has been classified as a “probable carcinogen” since 2015 by a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) but not by European agencies Efsa (safety food) and Echa (chemicals).

A growing number of organizations are campaigning for its ban. France has committed to getting out of glyphosate by 2021.

Bernie Sanders announces his candidacy for 2020

US Senator Bernie Sanders, an unfortunate candidate for the 2016 Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton, announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday. Bernie Sanders, 77, made the announcement in an interview with a Vermont radio station. State of which he is elected. “I wanted to first inform the people of Vermont,” he said on public radio in this state of the northeastern United States.

“What I promise, while touring the country, is to bring the values ​​we are all proud of in Vermont – the belief in justice, in the community, in grassroots politics, in public meetings “he said. During this interview, he also attacked President Donald Trump.

“He's a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, someone who grabs cheap political gains by trying to attack minorities, often undocumented immigrants,” he said. .

By the time he ran for the primary in 2016, Bernie Sanders was an underdog, before holding on to Hillary Clinton. The latter had won, before being beaten by Donald Trump.

A “socialist democrat”

During this primary campaign, Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a “socialist democrat”, defended the idea of ​​universal health coverage, a free public university and a minimum wage of $ 15 (13, 3 euros).

Bernie Sanders, who remains popular among Democrats, was elected to the House of Representatives from 1990 to 2006, before becoming a senator. He was comfortably re-elected last November.

A dozen Democrats have already embarked on the US presidential race of 2020. The candidacy of Joe Biden, former vice president of Barack Obama, is also expected.

(with AFP)

North Korea: Kim Jong Un travels to Hanoi on the train to meet Donald Trump

A high-profile staging. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un travels to his second summit meeting with US President Donald Trump, due to take place in Vietnam next week. Kim had already left on Saturday, reported the official news agency of North Korea. The track is thousands of kilometers long. Kim is accompanied by a high-level delegation. Images of his departure were spread by the North Korean state media. Trump insists that North Korea abandons its nuclear program. The Republican and Kim want to gather in Hanoi on February 27th and 28th. There were already taken on the weekend security precautions. A first meeting between the two took place last June in Singapore. Trump and Kim had agreed to make the Korean peninsula nuclear weapons free. However, according to US data, barely any progress has been made in the negotiations so far, which is why the US is maintaining its sanction pressure on North Korea. Shortly before Kim's departure, there had been a sign of weakness from Pyongyang. Ruler Kim cut the food rations of the population by almost half. Reasons include high temperatures in the country and the UN sanctions.

Urgent teacher shortage: the director as a substitute teacher

On the site teacher Eddy Erkelens tries to make the problem clear. This week almost seventeen thousand children have been confronted with the teacher shortage. But the North region had a holiday. The week before, when all schools were still open, more than 33,000 students were confronted with the consequences of the shortage.

Last week, 6495 children were sent home because no teacher was found for their group. According to Erkelens, the figures represent only a fraction of the problem, because only 12 percent of the schools provided data in the past month.


Other short-term solutions that he registers a lot: dividing children into other classes, part-timers who work one extra day, unauthorized persons in front of the class and a member of the management or the internal supervisor who teaches the group.

Responsible Minister Arie Slob acknowledges that due to the teacher shortage the situation in schools is dire. The ministry is working hard to find solutions, such as attracting more PABO students, side entrants and encouraging people with a teaching qualification to stand in front of the class again. But Slob does not have a short-term solution.

Maaike (21) wants to give children from home a permanent home

Finally, according to Margot Ende of Stichting Het Vergeten Kind, there is also room for improvement in the policy of foster care institutions and municipalities that take care of children who can no longer live at home. “Protocols, financing agreements, policy: all together it does not lead to a system where the child is central, which has been the case for a long time and that really has to change.”

Maaike does have an idea how that should be done. “More money needs to be spent on long-term places, more needs to be done on foster care instead of living groups or family homes, and older children, from 12 to 16 years old, should be able to get into a foster family, because if you're sixteen, you are often too old for a foster family and you end up in the carousel. “

Maaike certainly knows for sure. “I also want to start a foster family myself, and then I would take that older child into the home that otherwise would not have a chance to get a foster family.”

PERU. (On) live in the city the highest city in the world

240 hours. For ten days, our team of scientific explorers is still in the highest city in the world, in Peru, at 5300 m altitude. It's hard to imagine what that means until you've lived it. It is there, with marked faces and strong rings, that we continue to help and study the population accustomed to these extreme conditions. At the limits of the human body, where the permanent habitat is considered impossible, in theory.

If my body is still struggling to adapt to the lack of oxygen, I begin to take my bearings in this city of 50,000 inhabitants. I will even say that I am attached to it and that my eyes have changed. Less in surprise and more in sharing. As often, what makes the beauty of an expedition, a journey or an epic, is the meeting. The one that comes to offer a story to the decor.

Credits: Axel PITTET and Tom BOUYER – Expedition 5300.

A miner with swollen, purplified hands and lips

Behind science are hiding humans. Lives. And contrasts. Where for us Westerners, accustomed to comfort, this daily seems unthinkable, La Rinconada continues to grow. Like a city out of time. With its mysteries and its problems.

In the vicinity of the ephemeral laboratory, I meet a miner, Juan Carlos, with swollen hands and lips, violaceous. He is lining up to meet our team of scientists. I ask him how he is doing. I try to understand somehow, with my wobbly Spanish, what he describes. He shows me his head first then his heart … We end up discussing everything and nothing, like two old friends over a drink. Juan Carlos explains to me that he works at the mine to pay for the law studies of his daughter, in Lima. And it's easier to find work here than in the big cities around.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

As the snow tips his nose, Juan Carlos and I arrive at the entrance of the laboratory. Objective: collection of first information. To put it simply, the ephemeral laboratory is cut in half, with a yellow tarpaulin as separation. A bit spartan but it does the trick. This is where our paths separate and through a last handshake and a look, I hope unconsciously to transmit all my energy and my courage for the future.

Expectations and meetings: unbelievable on all levels!

The patience of the miners is incredible. Every morning, upon our arrival, the Peruvians queue to be evaluated. To understand what they have. With their own story. Some have never seen doctors or needles. A world separates us and yet, we live well on the same planet.

Concentrated, writing on paper probably first results, I meet the eye of Ivan Hancco, Peruvian doctor. I allow myself to steal a little time to know the criteria that are taken into account in the context of Expedition 5300: men, aged between 18 and 55 years with a BMI (body mass index) less than 27 who were born at an altitude above 3500 m and who have lived in La Rinconada for at least 3 years.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

After initial assessments, two groups are created: twenty-five Peruvians with a chronic mountain sickness score greater than 10 and twenty-five peruvians with no chronic mountain sickness, that is, with little or no specific symptoms associated with altitude.

Hypoxia: different facets?

What is happening among the inhabitants of La Rinconanda? I see them sitting in what looks like a waiting room. Singular faces, swollen cheekbones, bulging eyes but an expression that does not change when you take the time to talk to them: a smile masking the harshness of their daily lives. Some are proud to be here, others probably do not have a choice and do not know other horizons of life. At each meeting of a new patient, I discover a Samuel Vergès, the person in charge of Expedition 5300, more human than scientist. A look that does not deviate during exchanges, almost sorry not to be able to respond to everyone's requests.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

Fifty. It is the number of Peruvians who will be able to pass on the other side of this yellow tarpaulin. The others, nearly a thousand will still receive a health check from medical students in Puno, under the leadership of Dr. Ivan Hancco. It is this comparison of scientific data, between two groups, which must make it possible to understand what are the differences involved in chronic mountain sickness. In a second step, the analysis of the data should lead to determine the therapeutic solutions to help the Peruvians to live better in these conditions.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

And for us, inhabitants of the plain, how is acclimation going?

As every morning, we find ourselves in the laboratory after a walk of ten minutes we climb some stairs, always trying … We cross a small market where already at 7:30, the smells of fries are felt as if life did not stop here. And as every morning, the faces, each time, become a little deeper, the eyes a little more closed even if the team is one.

One of the members, around what looks like a coffee launches, “Today, one more notch at the belt level”. We laugh and we say that altitude is a good solution to lose weight. Emeric Stauffer, doctor, explains that altitude is known to reduce the feeling of hunger (reduction of a hormone that stimulates hunger, Ghrelin), phenomenon known as “altitude anorexia”. In digging a little bit, I even read that a study in the United States found that when the altitude of residence increases, the rate of obesity drops. However, here, the inhabitants are rather corpulent. A genetic heritage to protect oneself from the cold? inappropriate eating habits? Good questions …

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

On a quieter afternoon, Samuel and I decide to go for a walk in the mountains and discover the secrets that are hidden above the Rinconada while the rest of the team is resting. We need it. We discover another world. More wild. Probably more authentic. Although after every step, I feel the lack of oxygen gnaw my muscles, my heart beat faster, the desire to explore takes over and allows us to decompress. It must be said that hypoxia – by all that it induces – must necessarily affect morale. Even after ten days, our body did not adapt completely. The nights for some remain chaotic. The spirit a little elsewhere.

Hypoxia: behind myths, reality.

When I talk with people of the plain, all, without exception or almost, tell me “to hang on”, that I will come back with “a box of hell”. I think it's more complicated. I like to remind myself that “it's the dose that makes the poison” as Paracelsus wrote, one of the pioneers of medicine from the sixteenth century. Complex.

Will the increase of red blood cells that I produce today by the lack of oxygen will allow me to be less tired, run faster? Not sure. Conditions-related days are difficult and prolonged exposure to hypoxia can be deleterious. A small drop in our energy production capacity due to a lack of oxygen can be responsible for fatigue, impaired immune defenses and cognitive difficulties.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

Everything seems to matter of dosage. For example, Samuel explains that living and aging at moderate altitude (1500 m) could delay or offset several pathologies and reduce some mortality factors. Several studies have shown that with altitude training, one can obtain superior benefits (cardio-respiratory, physical condition, body composition) to a normoxia (plain) exercise training program.

And the reality of everyday life …

Be that as it may, here the altitude is queen. The people of La Rinconada are aware that something is wrong. But they relativize and continue to celebrate life. Despite the difficulties of everyday life. Where Anne Sauvy wrote in Mountain rescue (1998) that “the mountain was a mixture of concrete and real horizons in the distance of mist and light – but also horizons of balance, wonder, joy, inner plenitude.” It is, for them, a test that must be faced every day and which imposes the understanding and respect of all of us.

Axel PITTET, mountaineer and shipping communication manager 5300

Warren Buffet always dumb on the name of his successor

Warren Buffet, one of the world's most famous and celebrated investors, has not yet named his successor in his famous annual letter to shareholders, but at age 88, he always says he dreams of an “elephantine” acquisition. Buffett's letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, his holding at the head of multiple companies in a wide variety of sectors but also a huge portfolio in various stocks, is read with attention by Wall Street and beyond, ” the oracle of Omaha “having the habit of distilling his opinion on the state of the economy or on the wisdom of investing in this or that investment product.

In the 2018 edition, he explains that his heart, like that of his partner forever, Charlie Munger, 95, “continues to beat faster” to the idea of ​​an “elephantine” acquisition. “In the coming years, we hope to be able to put our excess cash into companies that Berkshire will hold sustainably.The likelihood that this will happen in the immediate future is not good: prices are staggering for companies that offer good perspectives, “Buffett writes.

For the time being, the holding company has more than $ 100 billion in cash readily available should an opportunity arise.

Mute on the name of his successor

The investor also remains silent on the name of his successor but has not dried up praise for his two lieutenants who, since 2018, have taken the reins of most day-to-day operations: Ajit Jain and Greg Abel. The decision to give them a more central role “should have been taken sooner,” notes the legendary investor. One of these two men should succeed Mr. Buffet. “Berkshire is now much better managed than when I oversaw operations alone,” he said.

In terms of results, Buffett's year was rather bad, his bet on Kraft Heinz, the maker of the famous ketchup and instant macaroni cheese, having erased almost $ 3 billion of Berkshire profits, are raised to 4 billion dollars in 2018. Kraft Heinz, of which Berkshire controls 25%, had to announce on Thursday a depreciation of some 15 billion dollars of its assets for lack of having adapted to the new tastes of the consumers.

Mr. Buffett also criticized a new accounting rule that requires unrealized gains or losses to be included in GAAP net earnings.

With a portfolio of $ 173 billion at the end of 2018 in equities, “the large-scale variations in our quarterly results will inevitably continue”. “In fact, in the fourth quarter, a period of very high volatility in the stock price, we have seen several days with” + profits + “+ + + losses of more than 4 billion dollars,” insists Mr. Buffet.

(With AFP)