After controversial anti-racism law, new media legislation in 2011

first_imgNews BoliviaAmericas Bolivian journalist hounded after accusing boss of sexual harassment to go further News Follow the news on Bolivia BoliviaAmericas Interview with Idón ChiviReporters Without Borders: What has been the outcome of the process of proposing and approving Law 045 against racism and all forms of discrimination? Idón Chivi: After Law 045 was promulgated on 8 October, we carried out nine days of consultations, one in each geographical department, about how it should be regulated. We received 300 verbal and written suggestions, and three complete proposals from the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Network and the Erbol Network.As regards the media, the technical team in charge of drafting the regulations focussed on two points: “the dissemination and endorsement of racist messages” and “the manifest will or intention of disseminating racist ideas.” As technical staff, we can discuss the disciplinary and administrative aspects. But the other aspect, concerning article 23 (merging the relevant criminal code provisions into Law 045), is up to the judiciary, not to us. One of the subjects that we are discussing, for example, is the temporary suspension or definitive withdrawal of licences from radio and TV stations.As our model we have used the laws of Spain, Argentina and other countries that penalize the dissemination of racist ideas. We also have a recommendation from Denis Racicot, the representative in Bolivia of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which says that media freedom must not be used for discriminatory or racist purposes.- How to you view the current conflict about this law?Let us not forget that to get to this law and its regulation, we have had to go through the events of 11 November 2007 (clashes between students and peasants in Cochabamba), 24 May 2008 [harassment and humiliation of peasants by students in the centre of Sucre) and 11 September 2008 in Pando (massacre of 10 peasants). These painful events showed that certain elite sectors still harbour racist attitudes. Hence the government’s decision to discuss and approve this law.Some news media spend up to 16 hours a day sending messages criticising this law. What’s more, the controversy has proved to be very profitable for media that practice racism, because the government has had to explain the law and respond to certain insinuations, and this has resulted in publicity for these media.It has been interesting for us to note that for the most part the public is not worried about the media’s freedom of expression, because 78 per cent of the suggestions we received during the visits to the departments were about racism in education, the public administration and other matters. Only 22 per cent of the proposals referred to journalism.- What do you think of the protests by journalists and media owners?The journalists are divided, because it is very clear that some of them, ANP members, participated in the discussion about the law’s regulations and many of them submitted very specific proposals. In the case of the media, there is more unity. But it is very clear that the businessmen who own the media are the ones who decide their editorial line. The presenters, especially TV presenters, are just political operatives.- What will happen after Law 045’s regulations are approved?As regards offences of an administrative nature, journalists and news media will have to accept what laid down in the regulations. And as regards criminal offences, it will be up to the prosecutors and the judges to try them. No other outcome will be possible.In the discussions and debate about Law 045, the media reacted in a more corporativist manner than they have to other legislation in the past. We will begin drafting the media law after 8 January. We have just taken the first step. Interview with Ronald Grebe LópezReporters Without Borders: What is your view of the way Law 045 against racism and all forms of discrimination was proposed and approved? Ronald Grebe López: It must be pointed that we, the representatives of the journalistic profession, have been repeatedly sidelined this year from the discussions on various laws that relate directly to our work.No one consulted us during the discussion on the electoral law although election advertising campaigns concern us very closely. As for the law on access to public information, a public hearing was supposed to be held. We had conveyed our observations and comments to the relevant authorities. But then we received no summons and discussion of the bill came to a halt.During the consultations on Law 045, the National Press Association and the Bolivian Confederation of Press Workers were invited to the government palace but only at the last minute and most of the leaders live in the provinces, so it was hard for them to get to the capital at such short notice.A few days later, President Evo Morales publicly announced that this law would be approved without any changes, that is to say, including the controversial articles 16 and 23. I must point out that we were in favour of the law against racism but without these two articles. It could have been a model for all of Latin America. But the law was drafted in a rush. Even the original proposal by the parliamentarian Jorge Medina – whose idea it was – was modified and then abandoned. This is the reason for all the protests by journalists and news media.-Why haven’t you been participating in the recent process of drafting the regulations for Law 045?Right from the outset, the senate (which approved the definitive version) took no account of our proposals. So how could they have listened to us during the process of drafting the regulations, which was conducted directly by the government? It was for this reason that, on the basis of article 11 of the constitution about citizen initiatives, we organized a campaign with the slogan of “One million signatures for freedom of expression.” But we never said we said expected to actually reach 1 million signatures or even 800,000. So far we have gathered 400,000.- Either way, the deadline for drafting the regulations is 8 January.An array of sanctions will clearly be established for journalists and news media. We will read these regulations when they are approved. We will have to analyze them. Then we will emphasize the campaign for freedom of expression and the citizen legislative initiative. And if that does not work, we will turn to international bodies. June 12, 2020 Find out more December 16, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 After controversial anti-racism law, new media legislation in 2011 Newscenter_img News February 1, 2018 Find out more Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information The adoption of the anti-racism law and the controversy about it in the media are to be followed by a new media law next year. Amid the often tense debate in Bolivia about civil liberties, Reporters Without Borders has interviewed Ronald Grebe López, the president of the National Journalists Association (ANP), and Idón Chivi, director-general of decolonization at the Ministry of Cultures.Grebe, a critic of President Evo Morales, condemns the lack of consultation prior to adoption of the anti-racism law, the principle of which he approves. Chivi, a government official, deplores the media’s disproportionate and corporativist reaction to the law. Reporters Without Borders is publishing these interviews as a reminder of the terms of the debate. It intends to use the same approach – presentation of contrasting viewpoints – with the future media law.Bolivia’s intention to introduce legislation regulating the media follows Argentina’s adoption of a law on Audiovisual Communication Services (SCA ) in 2009 and this year’s attempts in Ecuador – currently on hold – to pass a communication law.We do not criticise the principle of such laws. We supported the Argentinian law because of its extensive provisions for pluralism and for combating the concentration of media ownership in a few hands. We expressed more reserves about the Ecuadorean law because, although based partly on the Argentinian law, it aimed to promote “exact, opportune and contextualized news coverage.”While laws are needed to regulate the workings of the media and provide them with a legislative framework, we believe that laws will inevitably threaten freedom of expression if they try to determine the content and relevance of a news report. We hope to pursue this debate with those involved. Editor still unable to return to Bolivia after six months in exile Covid-19 emergency laws spell disaster for press freedom RSF_en Organisation November 18, 2016 Find out morelast_img read more

Comeback kids: UW erases deficit to win

first_imgDown 14 points with 14:52 remaining on the clock, the members of UW’s women’s basketball team looked each other in the eyes and decided Virginia was not going to end their season.”Coach McDowell said to me, ‘It’s now or never. Now is the time to take it or our season’s going to be over,'” UW junior guard Janese Banks said.It took almost 12 minutes on the game clock for Wisconsin to capture its first lead of the game. But when the clock finally showed all zeros, the scoreboard showed Wisconsin 84, Virginia 78.”I knew we wouldn’t quit,” Banks said. “We came together and started setting goals for ourselves. We just locked down defensively like Coach Stone wanted us to.”The Badgers were down the entire game, but every time the Cavaliers started to pull away, someone would step up to keep Wisconsin within striking distance until it was time to take over.With three and a half minutes remaining in the game, and down 70-68, UW freshman point guard Rae Lin D’Alie had what seemed to be a breakaway that would surely tie the game. But Virginia freshman guard Monica Wright came out of nowhere with a monster block from behind.Following the block, the ball rolled toward the sideline and was picked up by Virginia point guard Sharnee Zoll. Trying to push into fast-break mode, Zoll threw the ball ahead of her. When she regained possession, Banks was waiting for her, feet glued to the floor, and drew the offensive charge.”I noticed that [Zoll] was losing her balance,” Banks said. “So I said to myself, ‘She’s going to take one more step into me, and I’m going to fall.’ “And she did.”The Virginia bench exploded in rage, which subsequently led to a technical foul, and UW junior guard Jolene Anderson’s free throws tied the game at 70.On the ensuing possession, with 3:06 remaining, D’Alie hit a runner along the baseline. The Badgers had their first lead of the game, one they refused to relinquish.After a clutch defensive stop on the other end, Anderson provided the dagger, a play Badgers head coach Lisa Stone called the play of the game.With the shot clock winding down, D’Alie dribbled the ball off her foot, but it rolled right to Anderson, who, with four seconds remaining on the shot clock, squared up and fired a 3-pointer.The ball found the bottom of the net just as the shot clock buzzer sounded to give Wisconsin a five-point lead.”Anything she shoots up, it doesn’t surprise me [when it goes in],” Banks said.Despite cutting the lead to 75-74, it was too little, too late for the Cavaliers.Clutch free throws by D’Alie, Anderson and Banks down the stretch sealed the deal for the Badgers who will move on to face Western Ketucky Wednesday night in the Kohl Center in the WNIT’s Final Four.Anderson finished the game with 30 points, tying her career high set last Sunday against Arkansas State.Banks finished with 19, and Ward finished one point shy of double figures with nine.”I can’t say enough about my semi-senior class,” Stone said of the three juniors. “They led this team. They led this team in a way of fighting back.”The Badgers clawed their way back from 13- and 10-point deficits in the first half, and trailed by as many as 14 after the break. Wisconsin didn’t earn as much as a tie until Anderson converted on the technical free throws.”Everybody believed that we were going to win this game, even when we were down and trailing,” Stone said. “Nobody gave up. And that’s a key to this team, they want to win.”Until the 14:52 mark, Virginia was having its way on offense. Led by senior center Siedah Williams’ 25 and sophomore forward Lyndra Littles’ 24 points, the Cavaliers seemed to be able to score at will.But when push came to shove, Wisconsin’s tenacious defense and timely offense was enough to pull out the victory.”Knowing that we beat a really good team feels awesome, and now we’re one step closer,” Stone said. “We refused to lose.”last_img read more

Wellington receives 1.8 inches of rain this weekend

first_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Sumner Newscow report — Wellington received 1.8 inches of rain this weekend, all of it occurring during the Friday evening and Saturday morning period. Interestingly a lot of that rain occurred during the Wellington-Clearwater football game under clear blue skies at Clearwater Stadium.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more

Scientist Sees Evolutionary Sense in Coordinated Complexity

first_imgAn article on PhysOrg tells “A vertebrate story,” and a story it is: the more complex a phenomenon becomes, the more it makes evolutionary sense.    Portuguese scientists were studying the interaction of Hox genes with the development of the ribs in vertebrates.  You can imagine the control that these genes must have when thinking about the differences between a mouse, with 12 pair of ribs, and a snake, with 200 to 400 pair.  The variety of ribs between a snake and a Tyrannosaurus are staggering, yet are under the control of developmental genes that direct their formation at the right time and place in the embryo.  The genes must be switched on and off in a coordinated fashion for the skeleton to come out right.  It usually does – except when scientists interfere.    The scientists found that genes for Hox10 are not the only ones involved.  Another class, called Hox6, interacts with Hox10 to regulate the formation of vertebrae.  By deactivating these genes they could get embryos to grow extra ribs in different portions of the spine.  They found that one set of genes promotes rib formation in the thoracic region, while another blocks the activity in the lumbar region.  Then they found that the genes for rib formation do not switch on unless genes that control the formation of both muscles and ribs are also switched on.  Suddenly the picture started looking a lot more complicated.     One would think this complexity would create additional problems for evolutionary theory.  Moises Mallo, however, waltzed right past the problem and rejoiced in the new insights it provided him.  Here is his prize for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: “Our findings reveal a more complicated process than we would have imagined, but one that makes perfect sense, from a functional and evolutionary point of view: it is no good to make ribs without muscle, so, in the embryo, the production of both ribs and their associated muscles is under the control of a single and coordinated mechanism.”You may now all emit a collective groan.  Make sure it is heard at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, where certain people need to be turned right-side up.  Evolutionary sense: how’s that for a prize-winning oxymoron?  David Berlinski put it well: “The unfathomable complexity of living systems, Darwin’s theory affirms, is the result of random variation and natural selection.  Is it indeed?  Of these concepts, the second is hopelessly confused and the first is of no intellectual interest” (Daily Californian, 04/01/2005).  No wonder he began that essay with the line, “Wearing pink tasseled slippers and conical hats covered in polka dots, Darwinian biologists are persuaded that a plot is afoot to make them look silly.”  That’s about all they’re wearing, too.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Pascua to FEU spikers: Get used to your setters

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Get used to your setters,” said Pascua in Filipino Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Lady Tamaraws fought back from two-set deficit against the Lady Spikers but eventually folded in the fifth set, 25-22, 25-17, 24-26, 23-25, 15-7, against the defending champions.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFEU was still trading blows with La Salle up until the 5-5 tie in the fifth set, but the Lady Spikers went into overdrive and closed the match with a 10-2 run.Skipper Bernadeth Pons was the only one who put up a semblance of a fight for the Lady Tamaraws when she scored their final two points. MOST READ AFP official booed out of forum “My setters’ decision-making has been a problem of ours so we have to change that. They just have to be consistent in every set they give.” Lady Maroons’ fight came too late, rues coach Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises George Pascua only had one advice to his spikers when Far Eastern University failed in its comeback bid against defending champion De La Salle in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Read Next “I told my hitters that they are already veterans, so whatever their setters give them they should just deal with it,” said Pascua as his team fell to 1-2.Pons finished with 21 points while her deputies Celine Domingo, Toni Rose Basas, and Jeanette Villareal had 12, 11, and 10 points, respectively.And Pascua’s main offensive contributors are all at least third year players with Pons being the oldest at fifth year and Basas the second-oldest at fourth year.Pascua said his setters Angela Cayuna and Kyle Negrito both perform well in practice, but couldn’t keep up when it comes down to pressure-filled situations.“It sort of became a bit of the two, that when the game comes they don’t do as well as they did in practice,” said Pascua who interchanged Negrito and Cayuna in the fifth.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View commentslast_img read more

Teeka Tiwari Editor Palm Beach Letter PS The

first_img Teeka Tiwari Editor, Palm Beach Letter P.S. The bitcoin mania isn’t over… It’s just getting started. And an event set to occur as early as April 2 is set to launch a second, massive run-up. Bitcoin’s price could soar 20 times higher. And I’ve found three plays that could soar even higher than bitcoin. I’m talking about making 50, 100, even 200 times your money. You can get the details right here. Reader Mailbag Today, readers respond to Doug’s take on the political correctness movement: Please look up the origin of PC. Educate your audience. I refuse to acknowledge those two words—it’s a term Stalin popularized. We can thank the “New” out of control educational system! College is a breeding ground. Sad, very sad.—Craig More Scrutiny Is Not a Bad Thing China wants nothing to do with cryptocurrencies. And banks are banning the use of credit cards to purchase them. (That’s actually good news. As I’ve said before, you should never borrow money to fund a crypto investment.) This week, two federal agencies—the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)—are preparing to send reports to Congress about crypto assets. Even the G20 (a group of 19 major national economies and the European Union) is threatening to take cryptos more seriously. All of this scrutiny has people scared that we’ll see a coordinated global effort to snuff out bitcoin and crypto assets. I believe this fear is overblown. Global governments have much bigger problems than bitcoin. The idea that they’ll all join hands and put their differences aside in the relentless pursuit of crushing bitcoin appears farfetched to me. Instead, we’re seeing the maturing of the crypto asset class. None of this is inherently bad. For cryptos to make the leap to a multitrillion-dollar asset class… some form of regulatory framework must be in place. I think it’s an overreaction to assume that all governments want to destroy the crypto asset market. Even if they wanted to, the decentralized nature of bitcoin and other crypto assets makes it impossible for governments to eliminate them (just ask China). Governments can certainly make things more difficult by shutting down the exchanges. But as we’ve already seen, even when the most important market in the space—China—decided to shut down its exchanges, other countries such as Japan welcomed the Chinese exchange operators with open arms. The Crypto Genie Is Out of the Bottle Governments can wail and gnash all they want… but nothing will remove cryptos from the market. The asset class is here to stay. And I think U.S. regulatory bodies understand this reality. That’s why I think the CFTC and SEC hearings will be more concerned with curtailing initial coin offering (ICO) fraud than trying to kill all things crypto-related. The CFTC approved bitcoin futures this past December. It would hardly make sense for it to greenlight futures and then expend resources to destroy the asset class. That’s why I think the current regulatory fears washing through the crypto markets are overblown. Just like they were during the many scary periods I went through with cryptos in 2017. Then, like now, I offered the same advice: Make sure you have rational position sizes. Stop checking prices. Don’t worry about how long this sell-off will last. No one can answer that question with anything more than a guess. (That said, I’m currently working on an essay that will offer my best guess.) I’ll leave you with this… The biggest mistake I made in the decades of the late 1980s and ’90s was to underestimate just how powerful an impact technology would have on the future. I under-owned—and sold too quickly—some of the biggest winners of the past 25 years. I’m not going to make that mistake twice. The blockchain and crypto assets are a new breed of technology that will have as much (if not more) of an impact on the world as the tech companies of the 1980s and 1990s have today. Let the Game Come to You! Buy These Three Cryptos Before April 2nd Nobody’s talking about it, but an estimated $846 billion mountain of money is expected to hit cryptocurrencies as early as April 2nd. That’s more money than the value of every single cryptocurrency on the market—combined. Three small cryptos in particular are expected to see the biggest portions of that cash… Details here. Identity REVEALED: The man who beat Buffett by 2-to-1 He’s called the “Billionaire Beater” because his research outperformed some of America’s most famous billionaires several times over. One he beat by more than 2-to-1 over a recent ten year period. He also crushed three legendary hedge fund billionaires over that same time frame. He’s a humble guy, though, and keeps to himself, but here’s how you can get elite-level access to his stock research… For example, in 2013, the Chinese government banned its banks from dealing with bitcoin. This was at a time when 90% of all bitcoin mining and the majority of bitcoin activity took place in China. On top of that, hackers broke into the world’s largest bitcoin exchange at the time (Mt. Gox) and stole nearly 850,000 bitcoins. Bitcoin dropped 80%… But it still refused to die. When I finally became convinced to buy bitcoin in early 2016, it was at $450 and had a $6.6 billion market cap. I knew that any asset class that could survive so much negativity had to have long-term value. Since then, of course, bitcoin has been as high as $20,000. Now that bitcoin has dropped as low as $7,000, does that mean the party is over? Technology Has a History of Fits and Starts I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many bitcoin millionaires—some now billionaires—who lived through bitcoin’s 80% drop in 2013. I asked what kept them in bitcoin through the negativity. After all, they had made fortunes from bitcoin… So why stick around? What separated them from the hordes of “investors” who sold was their unswerving belief that the world needed a practical alternative to fiat currency. Bitcoin is the first currency that can’t be devalued by a government. It’s the first asset that we’ve had complete ownership over. It’s the most difficult asset to seize in the world. Barring torture, there isn’t a government in the world that can take your bitcoin from you (assuming you’ve stored it securely). That makes bitcoin—and crypto assets overall—unique. In my opinion, bitcoin’s unique qualities will continue to create value for its holders. But it won’t move in a straight line. No asset ever moves in one direction. Even the biggest stock winners of the last two decades—Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook—had long periods of price drops, price consolidations, and fears about their long-term viability as businesses. In the 1990s, the government tried to break up Microsoft. Apple traded for barely the cash on its balance sheet in 2003 as people failed to see the significance of the iPod. In 2007, Google dropped 70% as investors thought it couldn’t survive the Great Recession. And Facebook dropped 50% right out of the gate when it went public. Just like those tech giants, bitcoin and crypto assets are now under a global microscope. All of this PC correctness nonsense is in the Marxist Progressivist line, which Obama-lite democrats are THE PROPONENTS of. Dumb down and numb down the masses, give them a bag of “goodies” to make them dependent on government and you have met your goal = gain the power. Eliminate/smear everybody with different views and you have made it! It’s like from Marx’s Manifesto. We must stay alert and not let the USA become the united socialist states of America!—Vera —center_img Recommended Link Recommended Link Justin’s note: Over the last few months, we’ve shared many essays on the big opportunity in cryptocurrencies. With the recent sell-off, I wanted to get this new essay from Palm Beach Letter editor Teeka Tiwari out to you as soon as possible. Teeka knows more about the crypto market than anyone I know, and he explains below what you should be doing today… By Teeka Tiwari, editor, The Palm Beach Letter I’m sure you’re aware of the vicious sell-off currently going on in the cryptocurrency market. But what you might not know is that this type of volatility isn’t new. Even as recently as last March and September, we dealt with similar market meltdowns. What was especially tough for us was that our most important positions actually ended up dropping far lower than the general market. At certain periods last year, we saw peak-to-valley drops of 67%, 73%, and 78% in some of my recommendations. It was a bloodbath. Hackers attacked Ethereum—my most important position… and the one I had staked my reputation on—every day. I can’t count how many times Ethereum forked its code to deal with various attacks. Aside from the normal angry emails we receive when prices are tanking, I received many mocking emails from “friends” reveling in my perceived “misery.” More than one asked, “How are your ‘tulip bulbs’ doing?” Then, like now, I knew the slings and arrows of the market would ultimately strengthen the entire crypto asset ecosystem. Whether it was hackers trying to destabilize the Ethereum network or the Chinese government trying to ban exchanges, I’ve always known that the decentralized nature of crypto assets makes them very resilient to external threats. That resiliency is what attracted me to bitcoin in the first place. — Mr. Casey forgets to mention that his fellow multi-millionaires support the PC movement. Warren Buffett and Lloyd Blankfein fund candidates that support all this PC nonsense but have no idea why—they flail around for an explanation. There is an answer but it cannot be found in secularism.—KostaIf you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.last_img read more

Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respo

first_imgRural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.As NPR first reported in 2016, hundreds of coal miners have been diagnosed with Progressive Massive Fibrosis in the last five years. This advanced stage of the disease known as “black lung” is incurable and often leads to gruesome deaths in which miners gradually lose lung function and suffocate.The funding for 28 black lung clinics in 15 coal mining states will jump $2.7 million to $10 million, which is the first time in at least 20 years that Congress and the White House have agreed to provide the maximum funding authorized by federal law in 1977.A bipartisan group of congressmen sought the additional funding and cited the sudden epidemic of the disease in seeking White House approval.”More funding for clinics is important. They need more resources to cope with the increase in PMF cases,” said Rep. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Va. “Coal miners are proud of the work they do, but should they develop black lung, they also want to be taken care of, and I agree.”Griffith worked with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Scott said the additional funds “will assist these clinics to better serve disabled coal miners with black lung disease.”Scott also wants the clinics to work with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to “identify and track cases of progressive massive fibrosis which is afflicting miners at rates not seen in the past 40 years.”Last year, Scott, Griffith and other members of Congress wrote President Trump, noting that “the clinics have faced a substantial increase in demands from coal miners for screening, diagnosis, and pulmonary rehabilitation.””Some clinics are so underfunded that they are operating with obsolete and inefficient diagnostic equipment, which is needlessly increasing miners’ radiation dose when they receive a chest X-ray,” the lawmakers added.NPR’s investigation also identified the largest cluster of PMF cases ever documented, a finding confirmed last month by NIOSH. That cluster was reported by three black lung clinics operated by Stone Mountain Health Services in southwestern Virginia.The additional funding “will definitely give us the tools that we need to screen, diagnose and treat the coal miners,” said Ron Carson, who directs the Stone Mountain black lung program.”We have seen a lot more miners coming into our clinics and instead of having to schedule them two and three months out, we can actually have that miner seen that particular day,” Carson added.Since 2013, the Stone Mountain clinics have diagnosed more than 600 cases of advanced black lung, which is six times the number of cases federal researchers had reported nationwide for the same period. The miners streaming into Stone Mountain worked in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia.NIOSH studies and NPR reporting show that the epidemic is striking younger miners, including some in their 30s and 40s, who are also suffering rapid progression to more severe stages of disease.NPR’s ongoing survey of black lung clinics, independent medical clinics and law firms specializing in black lung benefits claims has identified more than 2,200 cases of PMF or complicated black lung since 2010.The pace of disease continues with some clinics reporting a doubling of cases in the past year.Carson is also active in the National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics and said he hopes the additional funding will be used to help clinics convert to digital X-rays and medical records. That will improve diagnoses, he said, and make it possible to track the extent of disease more quickly and accurately.In a statement, the coalition said the growing number of miners seeking diagnosis at clinics “often have more advanced and complex illnesses.”Last year, the clinics served more than 13,000 working, laid-off and retired coal miners. Funding is channeled through the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Carson hopes the additional funds will help the clinics reach out to miners who may not know they have black lung.Federal and independent researchers say the spike in advanced disease is due to longer working hours for miners and increased exposure to silica dust, which results when mining machines cut sandstone. Silica is far more toxic than coal dust alone. Large underground coal seams have generally played out in Appalachia. The thinner seams that remain are embedded in sandstone. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit” alt=”last_img” /> read more

A debate is brewing over changes to the State Heal

first_imgA debate is brewing over changes to the State Health Plan. Some say a new proposal would benefit state workers while putting the future of rural hospitals in jeopardy.State Treasurer Dale Folwell believes hospitals are overcharging the roughly 700,000 people who have medical insurance through the State Health Plan.Folwell spoke at a contentious legislative committee meeting on Tuesday. He told attendees that his proposed changes to how health care providers are paid could save taxpayers more than $700 million a year, with additional savings in out-of-pocket expenses for state employees.The News and Observer reports that the North Carolina Healthcare Association opposes Folwell’s plan, which is scheduled to take effect in January.NCHA officials say those changes would amount to a 15 percent average cut to hospital budgets, and could force some rural hospitals to close, or leave the State Health Plan altogether.Despite their differences, many at the meeting agreed that the current system might soon become unsustainable, and urged compromise between the treasurer’s office and hospital representatives.last_img read more