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Are Wind Turbines Killing These 100,000 Pound Mammals?

Are Wind Turbines Killing These 100,000 Pound Mammals?

Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald…

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Are Wind Turbines Killing These 100,000 Pound Mammals?

Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump said recently that "windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before."

(Illustration by The Epoch Times)

His comments, made at a campaign rally in South Carolina, were quickly ground through the fact-checking mills of legacy media outlets such as The Guardian and the BBC.

"They’re washing up ashore. I saw it this weekend, three of them came up. You wouldn’t see it once a year. Now they’re coming up on a weekly basis," President Trump said.

The Guardian called his allegation a "lengthy and largely baseless attack on wind turbines for causing large numbers of whales to die, claiming that 'windmills' are making the cetaceans 'crazy' and 'a little batty.'"

The BBC lamented that clips of the former president's speech had exceeded 9 million views but that his "claims are not backed up by evidence."

President Trump also said only one whale had been killed off the coast of South Carolina in the past 50 years, but now the numbers are increasing.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally in Summerville, S.C., on Sept. 25, 2023. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

The BBC quoted Rob Deaville with the Zoological Society of London’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, who said whale deaths are caused by the fishing industry and ship strikes.

"To talk about wind farms being a problem takes away discussion around the very real threats that are a problem for those species,” Mr. Deaville told the BBC.

He said that there’s been no conclusive link between whale deaths and wind farms in the UK.

Andrew Read, commissioner of the U.S.-based Marine Mammal Commission, told The Guardian that "there’s no scientific evidence whatsoever that wind turbines, or surveying for wind turbines, is causing any whale deaths at all."

Although there are broader concerns over industrializing the ocean, he said whale deaths are caused by vessel strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, and warming of the ocean caused by climate change.

"The population of humpback whales, in particular, is recovering from being hunted and they are coming closer to the coast to feed on prey, which means they are being hit as they come into shipping lanes, or being caught up in nets," Mr. Read said.

He said people protesting ocean-based wind turbines are being manipulated by "fossil fuel interests," who are threatened by so-called clean energy.

Whales and Turbines

In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported to The Epoch Times that there had been 65 large whale deaths along the East Coast since December 2022. Three dead whales washed ashore in one week in Fire Island, New York; Long Branch, New Jersey; and Long Beach, New York.

In September, the Biden administration released "An Action Plan for Offshore Wind Transmission Development in the U.S. Atlantic Region."

President Joe Biden’s $3.5 billion goal is to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

The plan is based on the "Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study" to coordinate “timely transmission access for offshore wind" and to "evaluate multiple pathways to offshore wind goals.”

President Joe Biden points to a wind turbine chart during a meeting about the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership at the White House June 23, 2022.
A dead Gray Whale lies on the shore of Limantour Beach in Point Reyes Station, Calif., on May 23, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Lisa Linowes, founder of WindAction, said in the recent documentary "Thrown to the Wind" that in its rush to meet these goals, the renewable energy industry has cast aside the "precautionary principle," in which the burden is on the developer to avoid or minimize harm.

Ms. Linowes said the move is costing lives.

"Roughly 350 whales have died along the East Coast since 2016," she said.

The uptick began in 2016, she said, with a slight dip in 2022.

"And in the first six months of 2023—so just half a year—roughly 40-plus whales have died," Ms. Linowes said.

Currently, a total of 3,500 wind turbines are proposed for construction across 2.2 million acres of ocean along the East Coast.

High-resolution geophysical technology is used to survey the ocean floor for the future construction of these turbines. This seismic equipment is sending out frequencies that some believe are blasting the whales and dolphins with loud sounds that have resulted in their disorientation and inability to traverse the waters as safely as they had before.

Robert Rand, an environmental scientist, said the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and NOAA haven’t accounted for the avoidance and aversion that takes place when the whales hear the pile driving and other dissonant sounds reverberating from the construction of the turbines.

A crowd gathers around a dead humpback whale on Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Rey, Calif., on July 1, 2016. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

"They don’t make the connection between a loud noise in the water and species moving away from that noise, and that’s a problem because they don’t have the fat stores to run around forever trying to get away from that noise," Mr. Rand said in the film.

"If a calf is separated from the mother, what I understand is both of them start stressing a lot, and it doesn’t take long for them to die. It’s a very deadly situation. The calf needs the mother for food, and the mother is trying to find the calf."

After the mother and calf expend their energy, they are stranded and they die, he said.

Mr. Rand published an independent technical study in September that examined "geophysical sonar vessel operational noise" for the purpose of improving "noise control protections" for marine life.

"What I’m seeing is troubling," Mr. Rand said. "What I’m seeing are levels that are above the limit which NOAA itself set to be protected at distances which are much higher than were granted in the incidental harassment authorization. So, to me, it looks like an absolute breakdown of regulatory protection for the right whale."

Environmental Groups Silent

When it comes to oil and gas development, environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club will advocate for wildlife, Ms. Linowes said, but in the case of so-called renewable energy, they blame other factors such as ship strikes and climate change, or they keep silent.

A humpback whale swims near a cruise ship sails in Disko Bay in Ilulissat, Greenland, on Aug. 4, 2019. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In 2021, the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the Rice’s whale in the Gulf of Mexico was its own separate species, of which there remained only 50.

In July, NOAA proposed to designate 18 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida as critical habitat for the Rice’s whale, a proposal that would significantly limit the oil and gas industry from offshore drilling.

Republican lawmakers along the Gulf Coast filed lawsuits fighting the designation, arguing that the proposal wasn’t well thought out and would harm the economy, according to a report by The Washington Post.

U.S. District Judge James Cain, appointed by President Trump, agreed and ordered NOAA to withdraw its proposal.

Environmental groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity advocated for the protection of the area, and the group has initiated several lawsuits arguing that offshore drilling is harming ocean wildlife; however, the organization has made no efforts to challenge the offshore wind development impact on whales.

On Sept. 28, the center filed an emergency petition asking that NOAA mandate speed limits for vessels.

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Tyler Durden Tue, 10/10/2023 - 18:40

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

More Travel:

With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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