Archive | February 3, 2016

Italians March to Stop Bill Allowing Same-Sex Unions*

Italians March to Stop Bill Allowing Same-Sex Unions*

By Mariana Barillas

Huge crowds marched in Rome over the weekend to protest national legislation granting legal recognition to same-sex couples in Italy. The measure also would allow either partner in a same-sex couple to adopt the other’s biological children.

Italians rallied at Circus Maximus, the ancient stadium that has a capacity of 350,000, Reuters reported. Organizers estimated that approximately 2 million participated, although officials said that number is too high.

The legislation’s provisions would allow civil unions between same-sex couples and grant pension inheritance rights to the surviving partner in such a union, The Guardian reported.

The bill also would “allow a child legally to have same-sex parents in the case of a gay person adopting their partner’s biological child,” the British newspaper reported.

Opponents of the bill reportedly are especially upset by that provision.

Some Italian municipalities allow civil unions, but no such legal recognition exists nationally.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had promised the bill would be enacted last year, but he has faced opposition in the largely Catholic country. A vote in the Italian Parliament is expected later this month.

BBC reported Jan. 23 that tens of thousands in nearly 100 Italian towns and cities had marched in favor of the legislation.

Pope Francis restated the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage or same-sex unions the day before the protest, The Guardian reported.

“The family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of God’s dream and that of his church for the salvation of humanity,” the pontiff said.

The pope leads the Catholic Church from the Vatican, an independent city-state located within the boundaries of Rome.

In response to a complaint filed by three same-sex couples who were denied marriage, the European Court of Human Rights ruled last July that Italy was in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which concerns “private and family life.”

A summary of the decision reads:

“The court considered that the legal protection currently available to same-sex couples in Italy—as was shown by the applicant’s’ situation—did not only fail to provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship, but it was also not sufficiently reliable.

A civil union or registered partnership would be the most appropriate way for same-sex couples like the applicants to have their relationship legally recognized.”

The European Court of Human Rights also cited popular opinion and Italian legal precedent in its judgment.

“The court pointed out, in particular, that there was a trend among Council of Europe member states towards legal recognition of same-sex couples—24 out of the 47 member states having legislated in favor of such recognition—and that the Italian Constitutional Court had repeatedly called for such protection and recognition. Furthermore, according to recent surveys, a majority of the Italian population supported legal recognition of homosexual couples.”


Related Topics:

180,000 Italians Say No to Gender Theory and Sex Education*

American College of Paediatricians Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage was a ‘A Tragic Day for America’s Children’*

Sexual Liberation a Tool of Mass Control*

Surprise – STD Rates among U.S. Homosexuals ‘alarming,’*

Obama Spent $700 Million Promoting Homosexuality Overseas*

Norway Bill Would let Kids Change their Sex at Age 7*

Jewish Sexology and the Assault on Gender and the Family*

Religious Schools Face Closure if they don’t Promote Homosexuality*

Ontario’s Premier Grooming Youngsters for Sex

Gay Activist Admits our Goal is to Indoctrinate Children*

Woman Raised by Lesbians Testifies Gay Marriage Top of the List of Bad Marriages*

Bishops Denounce Horrific Desecration of Christian Images in ‘Gay Pride’*

Kenyan Leaders to Obama: Don’t Lecture us on Gay ‘Marriage’*

Paedophilia becoming the Accepted Norm in Germany*

Canada: The Effect of Homosexual Parenting on One Child*

U.N. – NWO’s Ordered Allow Homosexuality and Abortion or Forget Aid*

Cultural Marxism and Satanism*

Drug Firms’ Plan to Maximize Profits on Cancer, AIDS and Heart Drugs*

Drug Firms’ Plan to Maximize Profits on Cancer, AIDS and Heart Drugs*

By Matthew Perrone, Tom Murphy

Two drug makers have made a practice of buying and then dramatically hiking the prices of low-cost drugs given to patients with life-threatening conditions including heart disease, AIDS and cancer, according to excerpts from thousands of documents released by federal lawmakers.

A congressional review of more than 300,000 pages from Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals reveals how executives planned to maximize profits while fending off negative publicity over the price hikes.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) released the information Tuesday ahead of a hearing Thursday to examine exorbitant price spikes. Cummings has used his position atop the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate several companies that have bought previously low-cost drugs and jacked up their prices many times over.

The Democrat said in a statement that the documents show

“that many drug companies are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation.”

When reached Tuesday, Valeant and Turing said they’re committed to ensuring that cost isn’t a deterrent for patients.

At the centre of the investigation is Turing’s former CEO Martin Shkreli, who became the poster child of pharmaceutical-industry greed last fall for hiking the price of a life-saving drug by more than 5,000%. That drug, Daraprim, is the only approved medication for a parasitic infection which mainly strikes patients with weakened immune systems, including those with cancer and AIDS. The patent on the drug expired decades ago.

Company presentations released Tuesday show that as early as last May, Turing planned to turn Daraprim into a $200-million-a-year drug by dramatically increasing its price. Turing purchased the six-decade-old drug from Impax Laboratories in August for $55 million and promptly raised its price.

Shkreli said in an email to one contact:

We raised the price from $1,700 per bottle to $75,000. Should be a very handsome investment for all of us.”

But anticipating a possible backlash, the company warned in an internal memo:

“HIV patient advocacy may react to price increase … HIV community is highly organized, sensitive and action-oriented.”

The price increase left some patients with co-pays as high as $16,000, according to the committee’s review of more than 250,000 pages of documents from New York-based Turing.

Turing said Tuesday in an emailed statement that it is “committed to ensuring that no patient will ever be denied access to Daraprim because of cost.”

In addition, the House committee reviewed more than 75,000 pages of documents from Canadian drug maker Valeant. A memo summarizing the documents said the paperwork shows that CEO J. Michael Pearson decided to buy two life-saving heart drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel, to dramatically hike prices and drive up his company’s revenue and profit.

The drugs treat abnormal heart rhythms, congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. Laval, Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. bought the drugs for $350 million from Marathon Pharmaceuticals about a year ago and then tripled the price for one and increased the other six-fold. The memo to members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from staff members noted that this came a couple years after Marathon imposed its own, steep price hikes.

The memo also said Valeant identified revenue goals first and then used drug prices to reach those goals, with the drug maker believing it could repeatedly hike the prices of Isuprel and Nitropress without repercussions because those drugs are administered by hospitals, which are less sensitive to prices than consumers

The drugs generated $547 million in revenue and around $351 million in profits last year alone. The memo said the drug maker also more than tripled the prices on over 20 additional U.S. products in 2014 and 2015.

Valeant used patient assistance programs to distract attention and justify its price hikes, the memo noted. It cited correspondence from Valeant marketing executive Jeff Strauss, who reviewed a company response to a customer who complained about price increases. Strauss noted that Valeant was providing the drug to patients at a minimal cost of no more than $25 for a 30-day supply.

“Kind of hard to paint us as greedy if we have removed financial barriers for patients,” Strauss wrote.

When asked about the congressional report, Valeant said it expected that its future growth will be driven more by sales volume than pricing. The drug maker said it now offers a 30-percent, volume-based discount on the prices of Nitropress and Isuprel. It didn’t say how much customers had to buy to trigger the discount.

It also is offering discounts on some drugs through a distribution agreement it entered with the drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

On Thursday, the House Committee is scheduled to hear testimony from Turing’s chief commercial officer, Nancy Retzlaff and Valeant Pharmaceutical’s interim CEO, Howard Schiller. Schiller was appointed to the position last month after Pearson was hospitalized with severe pneumonia.

Shkreli said in a television interview Tuesday that he plans to take the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions at the hearing, but added he’d like to “berate” and “insult” lawmakers.

The 32-year-old former hedge fund manager was recently charged with of securities fraud and conspiracy related to another pharmaceutical company he ran before founding Turing.


Related Topics:

U.S. Drug Company Sues Canada for Trying to Lower Cost of $700K-A-Year Drug*

Author of Mandatory Meningitis Vaccine Bill Caught Taking $420k From Big Pharma*

U.K. Doctors Want NHS Out of TTIP Now*

More Teens Dying from Prescribed Drugs than Illegal Drugs*

The Doctor Who Prescribes Fruit and Veg. Instead of Drugs*

Study Finds Antipsychotic Drugs Shrinks the Brain*

Australia Pre-Drugging Kids and Psychosis Risk Syndrome*

Psychiatric Drugs Are Being Prescribed to Infants*

U.N. Vaccine Program has Deliberately Killed Syrian Kids*

U.N. Vaccine Program has Deliberately Killed Syrian Kids*

Thirty – six children in Syria died “excruciating deaths” after receiving vaccines administered via the U.N., which Syrian authorities say were deliberately tainted.

The U.N. vaccination program was designed in 2014 to prevent an outbreak of measles in Syria, but reports have emerged that the vaccines were a deliberate act of sabotage, forcing the U.N. to abandon its program. reports:

The Telegraph reported:

Doctors in clinics in the towns of Jirjanaz and Maaret al-Nouman in the north-eastern province of Idlib said children started falling ill soon after the doses were administered.

Relief organisations just over the border in Turkey said the loss of life was extensive, rising as high as 36, with more than a dozen other children in a serious condition.

“It’s very bad. The figures of dead go into the 30s. Children are dying very quickly,” Daher Zidan, the coordinator of the medical charity UOSSM (Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations), said, as quoted by the news site. “We think it will get worse.”

A Syrian opposition coalition consisting of rebels controls the area of Idlib province. The coalition had been administering the immunization project.

“The Syrian interim government’s health ministry has instructed a halt to the second round of the measles vaccination campaign, which began [recently]… following several fatalities and injuries among children in vaccination centres in the Idlib countryside,” said a coalition statement, The Telegraph reported.

The site went on to report that “medical experts” opined that the children’s deaths were most likely caused by a contaminated batch of measles vaccine.

The vaccination program was being managed and administered by the U.N.’s World Health Organization, which launched the drive to vaccinate 1.6 million Syrian children. At press time, The Telegraph reported, WHO officials were still trying to confirm reports of the deaths and vaccine contamination but had no information on casualty figures.


Related Topics:

Death by Vaccine: 34 Syrian Children Die*

The WHO’s Private Vaccine Laboratory*

U.S. Plan to Spread Cholera across Syria and Turkey May be Failing*

U.N. Scam: Rotten Food, Expired Drugs for Syrian Refugees*

Eugenics of the UN, WHO and World Bank in Mexico*

Universal Vaccinations for Children will be Overseen by Committee which Accepts Vaccine Manufacturer Monies*

Indian Doctors Take the Next Legal Step towards Gates Harming Children with Deadly ‘humanitarian’ Vaccines*

Toyota to Pay Over $20mn Settlement for Charging Black and Asian Customers More Interest for Car Loans*

 Toyota to Pay Over $20mn Settlement for Charging Black and Asian Customers More Interest for Car Loans*

By David Love

Institutional racism in the auto financing industry is alive and well, as it was announced that Toyota Credit, the financing arm of the automotive giant, will pay $21.9 million to Black and Asian buyers who were charged more for car loans than white customers.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. — the U.S. financial services arm of the world’s largest automaker — had faced investigations from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since 2013, a part of a wider inquiry into practices in the auto lending industry.

According to the federal agencies, the Toyota dealerships, rather than Toyota Motor Credit, discriminated against over 100,000 Black and Asian car buyers since 2011 through higher interest rates. They essentially tacked on a race-based penalty that was above and beyond the base rate that buyers receive based on their credit record.  Although dealer mark-ups, in which dealerships add additional interest, is not an issue unto itself, the problem is charging extra to Blacks — who paid 0.27% point more than whites — and Asians, who paid 0.18 point more.  This means that Black borrowers paid as much as $200 more on a car, while Asians paid an average of $100 more than whites with the same credit profile.

“No consumer should be forced to pay more money for a loan because of their race or national origin,” said U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California regarding the settlement agreement.

Toyota Motor Credit said the corporation “does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, even perceived or unintentional, from its employees or business partners. This practice extends to fair lending practices.”

According to Reuters, Toyota also is voluntarily taking these steps in order to “preserve consumer financing options while fairly compensating its dealer partners and upholding its commitment to fair lending practices.”  However, the company also said it “respectfully disagrees with the agencies’ methodologies to determine whether industry lending practices have been discriminatory.”

In addition to the over $20 million Toyota will pay in restitution, the company will also allocate $2 million to compensate new customers until the bilking issue is resolved, and will cap its dealer markup rates, now as high as 2.5 percentage points, to 1.25 points, with 1 point for car notes over five years.

But Toyota is not alone.  This decision comes on the heels of a number of other settlement actions involving the auto loan business.  For example, in 2013, Ally Financial — formerly the General Motors subsidiary known as GMAC — was fined $18 million by the DOJ and CFPB and settled with the feds by agreeing to create an $80 million restitution fund, amid allegations of auto loan discrimination.

Further, last year the Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank paid an $18 million settlement for charging Black and Latino customers $200 or more for auto loans than whites, with some dealerships charging as much as 2.5% more than the bank rate for these loans.  Dealers were allowed to keep the extra interest as compensation. The bank also paid $3 million in connection with unlawful add-on credit card services, and a $1 million fine for lending violations.

Moreover, last year, Honda Financial — the financing division of Honda — agreed to pay $24 million for its discriminatory practices. And also last year, the Justice Department reached an agreement with Evergreen Bank Group, in which the financial institution paid $395,000 to settle claims of racial discrimination in motorcycle lending.  Evergreen reportedly charged 2,200 Black and Latino borrowers higher interest rates than white customers from 2011 to 2014. This amounted to the average victim paying $200 or $250 extra for their loan due to their race or national origin.


Related Topics:

Big Banks Guilty of Charging Higher Rates to African Americans and Hispanics*