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Couple charged in child’s death want millions from Alberta government for their defence

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The Alberta couple accused of causing their son’s death by refusing to take the sick boy to a doctor wants their trial delayed until the provincial government pays them $1 million and puts $3 million in trust for defence fees at their upcoming trial.

David and Collet Stephan filed an application in the Court of Queen’s Bench earlier this week and appeared via closed-circuit television in a Calgary courtroom Thursday afternoon. The Stephans recently moved north and appeared via a video feed from the Grande Prairie courthouse.

“The accused have liquidated their assets, are in debt to previous counsel from the last trial and do not have the money to obtain the needed assistance required to provide them with a fair trial” reads an affidavit filed along with their application for a judicial stay.

The Stephans told the judge there had been a “drastic change” in their position and that there was “no way” they could go ahead with a trial.

“I have a question, Mr. and Mrs. Stephan,” said Justice Beth Hughes. “Have you thought about what you might do if your application is not successful? Have you got another plan?”

“We’ll just figure that out, touch and go, at that point,” said David. 

“No, we can’t do it that way,” Hughes replied. “We have a trial date set for June … we have to find out if you’re going to have counsel or not.”

David said he wasn’t sure if he and his wife would be hiring a lawyer should their application be unsuccessful.

Natural remedies 

The Stephans were found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 19-month-old son Ezekiel following his death in 2012 from meningitis. However, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned that conviction and ordered a new trial, which is supposed to take place in June 2019.

During the first trial, jurors heard the Stephans treated their son with natural remedies and homemade smoothies containing hot pepper, ginger root, horseradish and onion. Evidence was presented that the couple refused to take the boy to a doctor even when he became so stiff he couldn’t sit in his car seat.

Only when Ezekiel stopped breathing did the parents call 911. After days of being ill, he stopped breathing and was rushed to hospital, but died.

In May, the country’s highest court ruled the trial judge erred in instructing jurors on how to apply the law to their deliberations.

But after the Supreme Court victory, the couple fired their lawyers because they say they can’t afford further legal fees.

$1M spent to date

The Stephans say they’ve spent more than $1 million on their legal battle to date.

They argue the original convictions were overturned through no fault of their own and say in the affidavit that the Alberta government should reimburse them for all costs incurred including for their appeals. 

The additional $3,000,000 sought by the couple would go toward lawyers’ fees, investigators and experts that the Stephans say need to be hired by the defence team. The couple has proposed that money would be administered by a court-appointed trustee.

The affidavit also accuses Alberta Justice and Alberta Health Services employees of withholding, falsifying and tampering with evidence at the first trial. 

The couple has already been denied a government-funded lawyer because they don’t qualify based on their income and/or assets. 

Allegations against lawyers, witnesses

In addition to their request for funds, the Stephans have also launched a complaint against prosecutors and witnesses who were called at the first trial. The couple alleged the RCMP turned over 719 pages of “privileged files” to the Crown.

The affidavit calls the Crown and its witnesses “suspects who committed crimes during the trial.”

Although the RCMP has also been accused of “illicit actions” against the Stephans, it is that police force the couple asked to investigate their allegations against officers, prosecutors and witnesses. 

Prosecutor Britta Kristensen was in court on Thursday for the Crown and lawyer Chris Ghesquiere appeared on behalf the attorney general.

The couple’s re-trial is supposed to take place on June 3, 2019.

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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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