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A Carnival Cruise Line Cuts Passenger Capacity

International safety standards are proving to be a challenge for the cruise industry.

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International safety standards are proving to be a challenge for the cruise industry.

The cruise line industry has been working overtime to ensure the safety and health of their guests, spending millions on updating their ships in order to get back to full fleet.

It has also been requiring proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 in some cases in order to take certain cruises.

When the pandemic hit, the cruise line industry was hit especially hard, with many ships only now getting back to the seas after getting docked in the spring of 2020. 

Because, as we’ve noted, cruise lines nearly always flag their ships outside of the U.S. in order to work around American labor laws, “this gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more sway over the cruise industry than it has over perhaps any other form of travel.”  

There’s also the matter that cruise lines sail and dock around the world, and each country has different safety standards, so the main lines tend to err on the side of being as cautious as possible.

The Pandemic Is Not Over Yet

While we’d all love for the pandemic to be over, it's not, and health officials recently identified the ultra contagious Omicron Subvariant BA.2.12.1. 

The new subvariant is set to become dominant in the United States soon, but new infections are already starting to cause headaches for everyone, the cruise industry very much included. 

Already, Carnival Cruises  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report has announced that it’s begun limiting passenger capacity on several sailings on its U.K.-based Cunard Line, canceling several bookings in the process.

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

What Ships Have Been Affected?

Carnival has revealed that ongoing travel difficulties across international borders are causing challenges for the company.

That is making it difficult to fully staff its ships, owing to difficulties with testing requirements, quarantine periods, and other health and safety protocols.

Carnival Cruise has some of the highest guest-to-crew ratios for larger ships in the cruise industry.

Rather than cut back on the quality of service, which would result in longer lines and waits and reduced amenities, they’ve opted to reduce guest capacity for the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

“As you may have seen in the news, the wider impact of Covid-19 is affecting hospitality and is disrupting airlines and as such this is impacting the number of crew members we are able to get to our ships,” said the company in a statement.

“We naturally want to ensure that all guests across the fleet experience the high standards of service on board that they would expect from Cunard and which we are committed to delivering,” the company added. 

“We are therefore limiting the number of guests sailing as we build crew numbers back up."

The company then issued another statement.

“Due to our framework of protocols to protect the health and wellbeing of all crew and guests we are currently operating at a reduced guest capacity and we need to take an approved number of staterooms out of service,” it said.

It’s Unclear Which Lines Are Impacted

The company has not announced which guests, cabins of sailings are impacted by the cut back. 

Cunard Line has been contacting affected guests directly, who will be given a 100% refund of their cruise fare, taxes, and prepaid items, with no penalties deducted. 

The rescheduled guests will also be given a 25% Future Cruise Credit based on their fare paid, which can be used on any future Cunard Line sailing.

All impacted sailings are expected to still set sail.

Carnival isn’t the only line that has been impacted, as P&O Cruises canceled seven sailings of Arcadia last month, citing crew availability.

 

 

 

 

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International

Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Repeated COVID-19…

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Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Repeated COVID-19 vaccination weakens the immune system, potentially making people susceptible to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, according to a new study.

A man is given a COVID-19 vaccine in Chelsea, Mass., on Feb. 16, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Multiple doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines lead to higher levels of antibodies called IgG4, which can provide a protective effect. But a growing body of evidence indicates that the “abnormally high levels” of the immunoglobulin subclass actually make the immune system more susceptible to the COVID-19 spike protein in the vaccines, researchers said in the paper.

They pointed to experiments performed on mice that found multiple boosters on top of the initial COVID-19 vaccination “significantly decreased” protection against both the Delta and Omicron virus variants and testing that found a spike in IgG4 levels after repeat Pfizer vaccination, suggesting immune exhaustion.

Studies have detected higher levels of IgG4 in people who died with COVID-19 when compared to those who recovered and linked the levels with another known determinant of COVID-19-related mortality, the researchers also noted.

A review of the literature also showed that vaccines against HIV, malaria, and pertussis also induce the production of IgG4.

“In sum, COVID-19 epidemiological studies cited in our work plus the failure of HIV, Malaria, and Pertussis vaccines constitute irrefutable evidence demonstrating that an increase in IgG4 levels impairs immune responses,” Alberto Rubio Casillas, a researcher with the biology laboratory at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and one of the authors of the new paper, told The Epoch Times via email.

The paper was published by the journal Vaccines in May.

Pfizer and Moderna officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Both companies utilize messenger RNA (mRNA) technology in their vaccines.

Dr. Robert Malone, who helped invent the technology, said the paper illustrates why he’s been warning about the negative effects of repeated vaccination.

“I warned that more jabs can result in what’s called high zone tolerance, of which the switch to IgG4 is one of the mechanisms. And now we have data that clearly demonstrate that’s occurring in the case of this as well as some other vaccines,” Malone, who wasn’t involved with the study, told The Epoch Times.

So it’s basically validating that this rush to administer and re-administer without having solid data to back those decisions was highly counterproductive and appears to have resulted in a cohort of people that are actually more susceptible to the disease.”

Possible Problems

The weakened immune systems brought about by repeated vaccination could lead to serious problems, including cancer, the researchers said.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/03/2023 - 22:30

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International

Study Falsely Linking Hydroxychloroquine To Increased Deaths Frequently Cited Even After Retraction

Study Falsely Linking Hydroxychloroquine To Increased Deaths Frequently Cited Even After Retraction

Authored by Jessie Zhang via Thje Epoch…

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Study Falsely Linking Hydroxychloroquine To Increased Deaths Frequently Cited Even After Retraction

Authored by Jessie Zhang via Thje Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

An Australian and Swedish investigation has found that among the hundreds of COVID-19 research papers that have been withdrawn, a retracted study linking the drug hydroxychloroquine to increased mortality was the most cited paper.

Hydroxychloroquine sulphate tablets. (Memories Over Mocha/Shutterstock)

With 1,360 citations at the time of data extraction, researchers in the field were still referring to the paper “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis” long after it was retracted.

Authors of the analysis involving the University of Wollongong, Linköping University, and Western Sydney Local Health District wrote (pdf) that “most researchers who cite retracted research do not identify that the paper is retracted, even when submitting long after the paper has been withdrawn.”

“This has serious implications for the reliability of published research and the academic literature, which need to be addressed,” they said.

Retraction is the final safeguard against academic error and misconduct, and thus a cornerstone of the entire process of knowledge generation.”

Scientists Question Findings

Over 100 medical professionals wrote an open letter, raising ten major issues with the paper.

These included the fact that there was “no ethics review” and “unusually small reported variances in baseline variables, interventions and outcomes,” as well as “no mention of the countries or hospitals that contributed to the data source and no acknowledgments to their contributions.”

A bottle of Hydroxychloroquine at the Medicine Shoppe in Wilkes-Barre, Pa on March 31, 2020. Some politicians and doctors were sparring over whether to use hydroxychloroquine against the new coronavirus, with many scientists saying the evidence is too thin to recommend it yet. (Mark Moran/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

Other concerns were that the average daily doses of hydroxychloroquine were higher than the FDA-recommended amounts, which would present skewed results.

They also found that the data that was reportedly from Australian patients did not seem to match data from the Australian government.

Eventually, the study led the World Health Organization to temporarily suspend the trial of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients and to the UK regulatory body, MHRA, requesting the temporary pause of recruitment into all hydroxychloroquine trials in the UK.

France also changed its national recommendation of the drug in COVID-19 treatments and halted all trials.

Currently, a total of 337 research papers on COVID-19 have been retracted, according to Retraction Watch.

Further retractions are expected as the investigation of proceeds.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/03/2023 - 17:30

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Government

Biden Signs Debt Ceiling Bill, Ending Monthslong Political Battle

Biden Signs Debt Ceiling Bill, Ending Monthslong Political Battle

Authored by Lawrence Wilson via The Epoch Times,

President Joe Biden signed…

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Biden Signs Debt Ceiling Bill, Ending Monthslong Political Battle

Authored by Lawrence Wilson via The Epoch Times,

President Joe Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act on Saturday, suspending the debt ceiling for 19 months and bringing a monthslong political battle to a close.

The compromise legislation negotiated by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support this week, averting a potential default on the nation’s financial obligations.

“Passing this budget agreement was critical. The stakes could not have been higher,” Biden said in a Friday evening address to the nation from the Oval Office.

Congressional leaders in both parties, eager to avoid financial disaster, endorsed the bill.

McCarthy referred to the legislation in historic terms, calling it the biggest spending cut ever enacted by Congress. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “We’ve saved the country from the scourge of default,” after the bill passed the Senate on June 1.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) both supported the bill.

Biden vs. McCarthy

The president’s signature ends a monthslong cold war with McCarthy over terms for raising the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.

The Financial Responsibility Act suspends the debt ceiling until Jan. 1, 2025, cuts non-defense discretionary spending slightly in 2024, and limits discretionary spending growth to 1 percent in 2025.

The agreement also contains permitting reforms for oil and gas drilling, changes to work requirements for some social welfare programs, and clawbacks of $20 billion in IRS funding and $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds, among other provisions.

President Joe Biden hosts debt limit talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other congressional leaders in the Oval Office at the White House on May 9, 2023. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

In the absence of congressional action to allow additional borrowing, the United States would have lacked the ready cash to pay all of its bills on June 5, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Yellen announced in January that the country was in danger of reaching its limit.

McCarthy then said Congress would not increase the limit without an agreement from the White House to cut spending. Biden said he would not negotiate over lifting the limit because that would put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk.

The impasse was broken in late April when the House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, authorizing a $1.5 trillion increase in borrowing along with spending cuts and other measures favored by Republicans.

Biden then agreed to negotiate with McCarthy, resulting in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Opposition

A vocal minority of lawmakers in both parties opposed the bill.

Some Republicans believed the agreement conceded too much to Democrats. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) nearly blocked the bill in committee, but it cleared by a single vote.

Some Democrats opposed the agreement because it cuts discretionary spending and changes work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). They said those provisions would hurt working Americans and those in need.

​​House Rules Committee member Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) speaks at the Capitol on Jan. 30. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A group of Senate Republicans led by Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) initially opposed the bill due to concerns about the level of defense spending. They were brought on board by assurances from Schumer and McConnell that emergency defense appropriations could be added later if needed.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 314 to 117 on May 31. Forty-six Democrats and 71 Republicans voted no.

The Senate passed the measure 63 to 36 the next day. Four Democrats, one Independent, and 41 Republicans voted no.

Mixed Reactions

Outside the Capitol, some observers applauded the bipartisan effort while others echoed the complaints of congressional dissenters.

“This kind of compromise is exactly how divided government should work,” Kelly Veney Darnell, interim CEO of the Bipartisan Policy Center, said in a June 2 statement.

EJ Antoni, a research fellow at The Heritage Institute, said “conservatives have little to celebrate with this deal, and much about which to complain.” According to Antoni, the bill doesn’t actually cut spending. He called it “left-wing legislation” in a statement published June 1.

Navin Nayak, counselor at the Center for American Progress, endorsed the legislation unenthusiastically, saying it was imperfect but necessary in a May 31 statement. Nayak said the Mountain Valley Pipeline, green-lighted by the bill, puts the safety of thousands at risk and the added work requirements will increase hunger in America.

Congress must now work the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act into a federal budget and the dozen appropriations bills required to fund the government in the coming year.

The 2024 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/03/2023 - 15:30

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