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Admit he was poisoned, family of Steve Fobister Sr. demands of federal, Ontario governments

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The family of former Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Steve Fobister Sr. is demanding that federal and Ontario government officials acknowledge that Fobister died from mercury poisoning brought on by industrial dumping into the English-Wabigoon River System.

Fobister’s family announced Friday morning they’re calling on Ontario’s chief coroner to call an inquiry into the cause of his illness and death.

Fobister, who also served as the Grand Chief of Grand Council Treaty 3, and who was celebrated for being an advocate and environmentalist, died Oct. 11 at the age of 66. His family said he died after “a protracted battle with a degenerative neurological disease in his body.”

“Our beloved Steve passed away without ever getting the closure of having a government minister look him in the eye and admit that he was poisoned by mercury,” a statement addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said.  “Instead he was forced to fight for four decades for mercury justice in the face of denial, delay and discrimination.”

The family said it wants governments to speak “the truth.”

Fobister was outspoken about the mercury contamination of the water that has devastated Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong, after Reed Paper in Dryden, Ont., which is upstream of the First Nations, dumped contaminated effluent into the river in the 1960s and early 1970s.

During his life, he advocated for remediation of the river, a specialized treatment facility in Grassy Narrows as well as better compensation for people affected by the toxic chemical.

The family’s statement also called on the governments to “admit at long last that Steve Fobister Sr. lived with mercury poisoning and died from mercury poisoning,” and “commit to fairly compensate all Grassy Narrows people for the ongoing mercury crisis.”

Similar calls have been raised by federal and provincial New Democrats in Parliament and Queen’s Park, respectively, over the past week.

Neither senior level of government, the companies involved in the water’s contamination nor the Mercury Disability Board — which processes claims for mercury-related disability pensions — have ever admitted that anyone in Grassy Narrows has been poisoned, only that some show symptoms of Minamata Disease.

The compensation board has also been criticized for denying the majority of applications for compensation; based on 2014 numbers, nearly 75 per cent of the claims sent to the board were rejected.

Governments still not saying ‘poisoning’

Avoiding mentions of mercury poisoning continued in various government responses issued in response to Fobister’s family’s statement.

“Steve Fobister leaves behind a legacy of powerful advocacy and courage,” said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott in a statement to CBC News, adding that eligibility for mercury disability benefits is determined by the compensation board.

“Ontario is committed to the remediation of the English-Wabigoon River system and continue to work with Indigenous communities to identify contaminated sites and develop and implement a remediation plan.”

Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

A statement to CBC News from federal Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott called Fobister “a strong and passionate voice for the Grassy Narrows community and the challenges that they have faced for too long.”

“It is clear that community members have suffered for generations — suffering that continues to this day.”

Both statements also repeated promises that respective senior levels of government have pledged, including the Ontario PCs’ announcement that they will index mercury compensation payments to inflation and retroactively pay survivors and the federal Liberals’ promise to fund a mercury treatment centre in Grassy Narrows.

The province also said that, as of July 1, people who receive mercury disability benefits also qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Sitting federal and provincial government representatives also avoided mentioning mercury poisoning when questioned in Parliament and the Ontario legislature about Fobister and Grassy Narrows.

Sol Mamakwa is the MPP for Kiiwetinoong in northwestern Ontario. He again pressed the provincial government on Thursday to say Steve Fobister had been poisoned by mercury. (Youtube)

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa repeated the family’s call at Queen’s Park on Thursday, adding that he also raised the question when he addressed the legislature shortly after Fobister’s death.

“What I asked went unanswered.”

Government House Leader Todd Smith replied that the government is “taking the situation in Grassy Narrows very seriously,” and called the mercury contamination “an historic tragedy.”

When raising the issue of Fobister’s death and Grassy Narrows in question period on Wednesday, Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus asked of Trudeau “what’s it going to take for this Prime Minister to admit that people are still being poisoned?”

Trudeau repeated the treatment centre funding commitment, saying it’s something residents “need and rightfully deserve.”

A vigil for Steve Fobister Sr. was also held Thursday evening in front of Queen’s Park in Toronto.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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