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CONTENTS: JULY 10, 2000

Click. WAS TONY BLAIR'S SON PURPOSELY LEFT  BLACKED- OUT DRUNK ON THE STREET? 

Click. Drug companies 'inflicting holocaust on the poor'.

Click. KAPOSI'S SARCOMA PRECEDING IMMUNE SUPPRESSION. Sidney Gottlieb wouldn't have had any clues about this, would he?  by Tom Keske © 2000

Click. Al Fayed bans Prince Philip from Harrods.

Click. Prince William Honors his Mother on Coat of Arms.

Click. Boy Scouts Honor!


Drug companies 'inflicting holocaust on the poor'.
Anti-capitalist rhetoric deflects the spotlight from South African president's 'mishandling' of crisis in his disease-ravaged country

Drug companies which refuse to provide cheap Aids drugs to the Third World and western governments hiding behind punitive trade and patent rules are the principal culprits of a "holocaust against the poor" which has already infected more than 23 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, activists said yesterday at the start of the 13th World Aids conference.

The conference has drawn 12,000 delegates to the South African port of Durban. Ironically, drug companies, the big enemies, are also the main sponsors of the conference.

"Like the spread of global parasitic imperialism, Aids is roaming the world, attacking the poor and the marginalised," Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, told a crowd gathered outside Durban city hall.

"Aids is a holocaust against the poor and the responsibility lies with the drug companies who put their profits before their responsibilities," said Zachie Achmat, head of the South African Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) which wants affordable drugs to be made available to HIV positive people and those suffering from Aids-related illnesses. TAC wants World Bank debt relief to be conditional on health care expansion in third world countries.

The protesters' focus on international drug companies and trade rules, which allegedly prevent South Africa from manufacturing its own cheap generic drugs, will take some heat off President Thabo Mbeki and his government – under fire for obstructing treatment offers to the population, 4.2 million of which is HIV positive.

President Mbeki has also drawn criticism after mishandling the Aids crisis in his country. He has created the impression that he questions the link between HIV and Aids and that he considers AZT – one of the oldest and still most efficient weapons against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – too toxic for South Africans. His government has also turned down at least one offer of free HIV drugs from a pharmaceutical company.

Last night, President Mbeki used an opening ceremony address in Durban's King's Park stadium to justify his decision to convene an experts' panel – which controversially includes scientists discredited by the HIV-Aids establishment - and to underline his view that "Africa's health crisis" is rooted in poverty.

He said that after reading a 1995 World Health Organisation report on Aids in Africa, he had concluded that "we could not blame everything on a simple virus. Every African is pray to many enemies of health that interact in many ways within one human body". He listed hepatitis B, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and Aids, syphilis and others as forming part of the African health emergency.

Mr Mbeki's aides insist that southern African economies simply cannot afford to handle the HIV-Aids emergency. But the principled approach of President Mbekiis unlikely to impress those doctors and patients dealing with the emergency now. Nearly all the world's 11 million Aids orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Eric Goemaere, a M(acute)edecins Sans Fronti(grave)eres doctor who runs a mother-to-child Aids project in a Cape Town township, accused the South African government of living in denial. He said: "HIV testing is widely available in this country. The best thing to do, if you are worried about HIV, is to get tested and seek counselling. These facilities are available but people do not go. I understand them.

"Why would you go and be tested if you had no chance of treatment? Some people in South Africa have been stoned to death for admitting they are HIV positive," he said.

Because of the cost of HIV-Aids drugs, most Africans see the virus as a certain death sentence. People who are known to be HIV-positive are sometimes thrown out by their families for being a burden. Consequently, the taboo surrounding the virus is enormous and safe-sex campaigns often do not work. .

Tina Magongwa, 39, who has known she is HIV positive since 1993, joined the march in Durban yesterday because she hoped it would lead to cheap treatments for South Africans. "A lot of people do not know that drugs exist which can make you live longer. I hope that this conference will spread the message to many people here. I think both the government and the pharmaceutical companies are to blame."

Conference details

Location: Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.Up to 25 per cent of the population is HIV-positive.

Durban's features: Major trading port.

Aids statistics: More than 90 per cent of the world's 34 million people with HIV live in the Third World

Conference slogan: Breaking the silence.

Activists' slogan: Breaking the patents (of the drug companies).

Delegates: 11,000 from Europe and the US and 1,500 Third World delegates.

Principal sponsors: Nine pharmaceutical companies including manufacturers of all the major HIV-Aids drugs.

Controversies:

More than 70 per cent of HIV-Aids activists and scientists are in the developed world and focused on treatment through expensive drugs.


KAPOSI'S SARCOMA PRECEDING IMMUNE SUPPRESSION. Sidney Gottlieb wouldn't have had any clues about this, would he?  by Tom Keske © 2000
Posted on RemarQ July 9, 2000

http://www.remarq.com/read/5785/q_kp8fBRvrwYC-ydj#LR

In the early AIDS epidemic, Kaposi's Sarcoma was one of the the key indicators in making the diagnosis of "AIDS". An unexplained peculiarity was that Kaposi's Sarcoma affected primarily gay men, by an overwhelming margin. KS was virtually unknown in cases of transfusion AIDS, a very odd fact considering that blood was one of the primary ways of transmitting HIV.

There was a strongly alleged connection to poppers used by gay men. More recently researchers have claimed that a herpes-type virus appears to have caused KS.

Why would a new herpes virus have appeared at the same time as HIV, nearly simultaneously? The answer given by some researchers was the the KS virus was *not* new. It is postulated to have been already widely spread, but simply manifested itself more often as KS in immune-suppressed patients.

That is the type of "brush-off" explanation that the gay community has accepted too uncritically and too complacently. There are reasons to doubt that story.

Last week, I came across a 1992 study by Robert Gallo, et al. One of his discoveries was that KS *frequently* preceded any sign of immune suppression [1].

That finding blows out the water the comforting notion that immune suppression would be key factor giving expression to KS.

Of course, there are other problems with the herpes virus theory. There is also the problem of KS appearing in HIV negative men [2].

There is also the problem of why KS declined so steeply among new AIDS patients, in the 1980s. Among 1,341 men with AIDS, the proportion showing Kaposi's sarcoma declined from 79% in 1981 to 25% in 1989. [3].

Why would the prevalence of a herpes virus decline so suddenly and dramatically, among sexually active people who were getting exposed to HIV? What steeply declined in this time period was the used of poppers, which were strongly alleged to have a causative role in KS.

There is also the question of why a herpes-based virus should not be widely prevalent in sexually promiscuous heterosexuals as well, given the extremely widespread nature of other types of herpes virus.

The facts that KS appeared in HIV-negative gay men, and in gay men lacking any immune suppression, suggests that the cause, whatever it may have been, was *inherently* dangerous and causative of KS, on its own.

Why then would poppers, in use for decades, not have shown previous KS cases? Why would a supposedly wide-spread herpes virus not have shown previous KS cases?

The devil is in the details. Some of the interesting details are buried in obscure studies that sit in databases, their implications never realized by our too-complacent community.

We would be prudent to be a little more paranoid and insist on real answers to these puzzles and mysteries.

What really happened to us?

Tom Keske

Boston, Mass.

REFERENCES

[1] J Immunol 1992 Dec 1;149(11):3727_34

Effects of cytokines from activated immune cells on vascular cell growth and HIV_1 gene expression. Implications for AIDS-Kaposi's sarcoma pathogenesis.

Barillari G, Buonaguro L, Fiorelli V, Hoffman J, Michaels F, Gallo RC, Ensoli B

Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) arises more frequently in homosexual and bisexual men than in other groups of HIV_1 infected individuals. Clinico-epidemiologic data indicate that homosexuals often are infected with multiple microbial agents and/or subjected to other antigenic stimuli, preceding or accompanying HIV-1infection. Signs of immune activation, in fact, frequently have been detected in these individuals, and the onset of KS can precede any sign of immunodeficiency.

[2] http://www.aegis.com/pubs/aidsline/1992/dec/M92C5381.html

Lancet; 335(8682):168_9 1990. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE
ICDB/ 92688101 Friedman_Kien AE; Saltzman BR; Cao Y; Nestor MS; Mirabile M; Li JJ; Peterman TA; Dept. of Microbiology, New York Univ. Medical Center, New York,; NY 10016

Abstract: Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) was rarely seen in the United States before 1980. An aggressive type of KS has become widespread during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, mainly affecting homosexual men. 349 homosexual or bisexual men with biopsy proven KS seen in a university hospital-based dermatology practice between 1981 and 1989 were tested for antibodies to HIV-1, and 6 were HIV-1 negative. Case histories andlaboratory data for the HIV-1 negative patients (pts) are presented.

[3] Am J Epidemiol 1990 Feb;131(2):221-31
Kaposi's sarcoma in a cohort of homosexual and bisexual men.
Epidemiology and analysis for cofactors.
Lifson AR, Darrow WW, Hessol NA, O'Malley PM, Barnhart JL, Jaffe HW, Rutherford, GW


Al Fayed bans Prince Philip from Harrods
The Evening Standard © July 10, 2000

http://www.thisislondon.com/html/news.html

Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed has slapped a ban on the Duke of Edinburgh visiting his store and will not be reapplying for Royal Warrants granted by the Queen and Prince of Wales.  

Mr Al Fayed has written to the Royal Family to tell them they are welcome to shop in the Knightsbridge store - as long as they don't bring the Duke along.  

Earlier this year, the Duke announced his intention to withdraw his Royal Warrant, which Harrods held since 1956, because of a decline in his trading relationship with the store.  

Without the warrant, the store cannot display his crest on its frontage, carrier bags or stationery.  

Royal Warrants from the Queen, held since 1955, and Prince of Wales, held since 1980, both expire at the end of 2001 but Mr Al Fayed said Harrods would not be reapplying for them.  

All Royal Warrants would be removed from the store's Brompton Road facade at the end of this summer, he said.  

The royals had not bought anything in the store since December 1997 so it would be "totally inappropriate" for Harrods to apply for renewal of the warrants, he said.  

"Since neither the Queen nor Prince Charles have shopped in Harrods for several years, displaying the Royal Crest would be totally misleading and hypocritical," said Mr Al Fayed.  

"We are proud of the Harrods reputation as the world's finest store and we naturally welcome discerning shoppers from all over the world.  

"The Royal Family, with the exception of Prince Philip, are welcome to shop at Harrods at any time."  


PRINCE WILLIAM HONORS HIS MOTHER ON COAT OF ARMS
By Adam Sherwin © London Times 6/10/00

PRINCE WILLIAM has paid tribute to the memory of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, by restoring her family insignia to his new coat of arms.

In his first official act, the 18-year-old Prince requested that the small, red scallop shell which derives from the Spencer coat of arms be included in the design, which was unveiled yesterday to mark the Prince's coming of age.

The scallop motif has been borne by the Earls Spencer since the 16th century and was a popular symbol for medieval pilgrims. It now appears three times on the Prince's Arms, in the centre of the shield and on the necks of the lion and unicorn that support the shield.

The Arms also draw on the Royal Arms used by the Queen and his father, the Prince of Wales. Prince William, as heir apparent to the heir apparent, will be the only one of the Queen's grandchildren to be given a three-pointed label on his arms. Five-pointed labels are normally used for grandchildren.

Peter Gwynne-Jones, responsible for royal heraldry, said: "It is a welcome innovation to incorporate maternal symbols into the Royal Family's arms, and it is something that Prince William and his family wanted to do.

"Prince William's Arms will change, as shall the Prince of Wales's, but a precedent has been set that others in the Royal Family may well follow."

A royal licence is being drawn up to grant the coat of arms officially to the Prince, who celebrated his birthday last month.

TO SEE COAT OF ARMS: http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/Times/frontpage.html?1124027


BOY SCOUTS HONOR!
Seattle Times Sunday Edition - July 9, 2000. Chosen as the Time's "letter of
the day."  


Seattle Sunday Times -- Opinion -- Northwest Voices

Letter of the Day:

To Chief Scout Executive Roy Williams:

It is with great sorrow that we present to you our cherished Eagle Scout
badges in response to the National Council's blatant discrimination of
homosexual individuals.

These badges at one time were a proud statement of achievement, skill and
citizenship.

We believe the Boy Scouts of America teaches bigotry and intolerance, two
characteristics we don't believe constitute values of "mentally awake and
morally straight."  This is not good citizenship!

We urge you and the organization to reconsider this bias and discrimination.
Until the Scouts becomes a truly inclusive and accepting organization, we
forfeit our scouting heritage and will encourage all others -- parents
leaders, Eagles former scouts and current scouts -- to seriously reconsider
their participation in the Boy Scouts of America.

Steven Crouch, Eagle Scout 1986, Seattle
Edward Crouch Eagle Scout 1954, Seattle


WAS TONY BLAIR'S SON PURPOSELY LEFT  BLACKED-OUT DRUNK ON THE STREET?

    On July 7, 2000, NewsMakingNews reported a link regarding the Prime Minister's son being found drunk on the street.  The article indicated the boy was isolated--no friends or security were at the scene.  Article: "Dad's out, mum's away, exams are over and I've been out with the lads... trouble is dad's the PM." Click. This scenario contradicts normal security procedures.

E-MAIL FROM © 2000

A grossly under reported fact (if reported anywhere) is "where were his minders". (Even his chums left him).

Where were the lawfully appointed members of the Close Protection Squad, that are supposed to be with the PM's family at all times.

I don't think a single paper here in UK has addressed this problem.

Unless of course they were "officially" not there ie: the kid was gently left to get on with embarrassing his family - or perhaps the team sent to do "the" hit arrived late.