• UK explores multi-billion pound free trade deal with China – BBC News

    Media captionPhilip Hammond: “I don’t think they’re in punishment mode… they’re very much focused on the economic prizes available”

    Chancellor Philip Hammond has begun discussions with China on an ambitious free trade deal which could see greater access for major Chinese banks and businesses to the UK economy.

    The Chancellor told the BBC it was time to explore “new opportunities” across the world, including with China, one of the UK’s biggest inward investors.

    That is despite a short term economic shock from leaving the European Union.

    He added that the EU is not in “punishment mode” over the Brexit vote.

    “What we now need to do is get on with it in a way that minimises the economic impact on the UK economy in the short term and maximises the benefit in the long term,” Mr Hammond said, admitting that there had been “global disappointment” about the Brexit vote.


    Chinese state media reported earlier in the month that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce wants to do a UK free trade deal.

    Mr Hammond has now revealed that Britain is also keen.

    It will be the first time the UK has embarked on such a major project with the second largest economy in the world.

    And will raise concerns about cheap manufactured goods entering the UK more easily.

    ‘More opportunity’

    In return for greater access to the UK for its manufactured products and investment, China would reduce barriers to Britain’s service industries like banking and insurance as well as UK goods.

    That would be an important source of export income for Britain.

    “The mood music that I have heard here is very much that this will mean more opportunity for countries like China that are outside the European Union to do business with Britain,” Mr Hammond said.

    “And as Britain leaves the European Union and is not bound by the rules of the European Union perhaps it will be easier to do deals with Britain in the future.”

    Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
    Image caption Philip Hammond met Chinese vice premier Ma Kai in Beijing before the G20 summit

    I asked if that could mean a free trade deal, bilaterally agreed with China which invested over $5bn (3.8bn) in the UK in 2014.

    “Definitely I could see such a thing,” Mr Hammond told me at the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Chengdu, China.

    “We already have a strategic partnership with China.

    “We have hugely increased our trade with China, investment both by British companies into China and by Chinese entities into the UK.

    “That’s about as far as we can go while we are members of the European Union.

    “But once we are out of the European Union then I have no doubt on both sides we will want to cement that relationship into a firmer structure in a bilateral way that’s appropriate.

    “That’s something we will have to explore in the future.”

    ‘Steel dumping’

    Mr Hammond said it would be “certainly appropriate” to start discussing a new deal over the next “couple of years” and the issue was raised here at Chengdu.

    What might a deal – which could only come after Britain had officially left the EU – look like?

    Senior government sources have told me that officials are looking at New Zealand’s free trade agreement with China which took four years to negotiate and came into effect in 2008.

    Care would have to be taken over security concerns and the possibility of China “dumping” cheap imports in the UK – for example steel.

    ‘Punishment mode’

    As well as a positive reaction from China, Mr Hammond said that he did not believe that the EU was trying to teach the UK a lesson over the Brexit vote by making negotiations over trade difficult.

    “I don’t think they are in punishment mode,” he said.

    “This is a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors and, as you would expect, they are very much focused on the economic challenges and the economic prizes available.

    “I have no doubt that everyone would want to see a very close relationship between the UK and the EU going forward because that will be good for the economies of the European Union and the economy of the UK.

    “The challenge for us is to make sure that other politicians who are not so narrowly focused on the economic agenda also share that view and recognise that it is important not just for Britain but for Europe as well that we continue working closely together.”

    Image copyright PA
    Image caption The government hopes a final deal for the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant will be ready soon

    No project better sums up how investment in major infrastructure projects is now a global issue than Hinkley Point, the 18bn plan for a new nuclear power station in Somerset backed by France’s EDF energy company and one of China’s main nuclear suppliers.

    Mr Hammond said that the government still supported the project, and that a final agreement would be signed “hopefully over the next few days” after an EDF board meeting to agree the details.

    At the G20 many countries are now moving into practical mode – the Chancellor campaigned against leaving the EU and China argued against it, but Mr Hammond has clearly signalled that is now a matter for the history books.

    The British public have spoken.

    The present challenge is seeing how the fifth largest economy in the world can take advantage of that decision, rebuilding a “close” trading relationship with the EU and new economic relationships with countries, like China, which, it should be remembered, has never had a free trade agreement with any EU country.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36877573

  • Clinton campaign has best fundraising month

    Washington (CNN)The Hillary Clinton campaign announced Tuesday it pulled in $90 million last month for her campaign and the Democratic Party — its best fundraising month of the race.

    The campaign also announced that it had $58 million cash on hand at the start of August.
    The Clinton campaign also touted bringing in $8.7 million in the 24 hours after she accepted the nomination last week — a haul that exceeded some of Bernie Sanders best efforts in the thick of the Democratic primary.
    The campaign said in a statement that the average donation for the month was just $44 and about 54% of donations in the month of July came from new donors.
    Donald Trump told a crowd in Columbus, Ohio, Monday that he raised $35.8 million in August from 517,000 small donors, at an average of $69 per donor. Trump also said he raised more money from top-dollar donors through his victory fund, but did not say how much.
    Clinton will look to match her July haul with a series of August fundraisers, including star studded late-August events hosted by Oscar-winning actors and tech billionaires like Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.
    According to invites obtained by CNN, Clinton will headline fundraisers in Southern California on August 23, including an event at the home of Leonardo DiCaprio, the Oscar-winning actor known for his roles in Titanic, The Revenant and The Wolf of Wall Street.
    Scooter Braun, the agent that discovered Justin Beiber, and Tobey Maguire, the actor known for his roles in the Spiderman series, will also host the star-studded event.
    On August 24, Clinton will then travel to Northern California where she will headline an event hosted by Amy Rao, the founder and CEO of a Palo Alto technology services firm, and another fundraiser hosted by Cook and Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of of environment, policy and social initiatives.
    Clinton will also have another arm in her fundraising bullpen in August: Tim Kaine, her vice presidential candidate.
    Kaine headlined his first fundraiser on Tuesday in Florida. The event, hosted by Democratic mega-donor Sharon and Mitchell Berger, brought in at least $300,000, according to attendee figures and ticket prices.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/02/politics/clinton-fundraising-july/index.html

  • Featured ImageReagan Republican: Trump is the emperor with no clothes

    (CNN)I had the honor of serving as Ronald Reagan’s White House political director from 1987 to 1989, so I can claim some insight on U.S. politics. My central conclusion on the 2016 race: It might not be entirely clear that Hillary Clinton deserves to win the presidency, but it is thunderingly clear that Donald Trump deserves to lose.






    The most pronounced example in this regard was his tasteless criticism of the family of deceased Army Capt. Humayun Khan. We owe that young man our gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice. And we owe his parents our respect for the dignity with which they reproached Mr. Trump for his grotesqueries.
    Less poignant is a part of the Trump story that ought to have particular resonance with Republicans: his four business bankruptcies, more than a trivial matter for a party that prides itself on thrift, sound money, and prudential management.
    The bankruptcies reflect a man who either lacks reasonable business judgment or reasonable business ethics. By themselves, four bankruptcies are pretty bad. But four bankruptcies and a private jet is deplorable. How can everyone lose money in the collapse of a project yet Trump flies away again and again?
    In the early days of my startup, there was a moment when I could have shut the firm, declared bankruptcy, and walked away from my obligations, but I have employees, investors, clients, and customers — all of whom rely on my commitment. I have a moral obligation to stand by people who are standing by me. No wonder so many Americans are skeptical of market economics if the system can be so easily manipulated by Trump.



    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, one bankruptcy may be regarded as a misfortune, but four begins to look like carelessness. We can suppose that Trump has every legal right to declare bankruptcies and to walk away with millions. And voters have every legal right to vote against him for those actions.
    There are many issues on which Hillary Clinton and I are not in agreement. However on the core foreign policy issues our country faces — alliance relationships, security commitments, and international engagement — she comes closer to Republican views than does Trump. And Donald Trump makes me cringe. I am voting for Hillary. And I vote in Ohio.
    Note: The author is the brother of Carl Lavin, Vice President of News and Opinion at CNN Digital.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/07/opinions/reagan-republican-trump-no-clothes-lavin/index.html

  • Featured ImageDemocrats accuse Trump of disloyalty over Clinton emails

    Doral, Florida (CNN)Donald Trump appeared to call on Russian intelligence agencies Wednesday to find 30,000 of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, adding a stunning twist to the uproar over Moscow’s alleged intervention in the presidential election.

    “They probably have her 33,000 e-mails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 e-mails that she lost and deleted because you’d see some beauties there. So let’s see,” Trump said at a news conference in Florida.






    “He asked the Russians to interfere in American politics,” Panetta charged, called Trump as commander in chief inconceivable. “Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump wants to be president of the United States (and) Donald trump is asking one of our adversaries to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States to affect our election.”
    Soon after Panetta spoke, the Trump campaign released a statement criticizing the former defense secretary’s stance.
    “It is alarming that Leon Panetta would, through his silence, excuse Hillary Clinton’s enablement of foreign espionage with her illegal email scheme and her corrupt decision to then destroy those emails and dissemble her ‘private’ server to hide her crimes from the public and authorities,” Trump senior policy advisor Stephen Miller said. He also argued that it was Clinton who was endangering national security with her policies in the Middle East and North Africa.
    The FBI recommended not to bring criminal charges against Clinton earlier this month.

    Cleaving up the controversy

    Earlier Wednesday, Trump’s campaign pushed back against claims that he was inviting Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.
    Trump rapid response director Steven Cheung said the candidate had “absolutely not” done any such thing. “What he intended was hand them over, yes. But inviting” goes too far, he said. “I think that’s a completely ridiculous thing to say that he’s inviting a country to hack a presidential candidates’ emails.”
    On Twitter, Trump himself wrote, “if Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”
    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, also tried to clean up the controversy.
    “Since Hillary promised us she only deleted 33,000 personal emails how can it be a national security issue if someone releases them?” he asked on Twitter.
    He added: “the media seems more upset by Trump’s joke about Russian hacking than by the fact that Hillary’s personal server was vulnerable to Russia.”

    Tantamount to treason?

    CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck said that there was “no real argument that Mr. Trump’s comments were tantamount to ‘treason,'” despite an outpouring on social media calling his comments disloyal.
    “Federal law limits that offense to an individual who ‘levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies.’ ” Vladeck said. “However complicated the United States’ relationship with Russia may be at the moment, there is nothing to the argument that the two countries are at war, or that Russia is an ‘enemy’ within the meaning of the proviso.”
    But he added that Trump could have transgressed a different federal law that makes it a crime for an individual to induce others to commit felonies involving physical force against American property, “which almost certainly includes cyberhacking.”
    Trump’s explosive comments on the emails Wednesday, during a news conference apparently called to try to commandeer media coverage focused the Democratic convention, were not confined to the two email sagas.
    He denied reports in some media outlets that his business was under undue influence from Russia and that Putin hoped he would win the election. He also claimed that Putin had once used the ‘N’ word in a show of disrespect against Obama.
    “I was shocked. Number one, he doesn’t like him. Number two, he doesn’t respect him,” Trump said.
    There are no published reports to back up Trump’s allegation about Putin’s use of the racially derogatory term, however.



    He called Russia’s potential involvement in the hack another sign of Russia’s “disrespect for our country.”
    Trump argued that U.S.-Russia relations would be better under his presidency than if Clinton took charge of the Oval Office, saying he would treat Putin “firmly” but would seek to bolster ties between the U.S. and Russia.
    But he said that did not mean he was in the Kremlin’s pocket.
    “I never met Putin, I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me,” Trump said.
    The GOP nominee also sowed some uncertainty about another aspect of U.S. policy towards Russia concerning its annexing of part the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
    He was asked whether as president he would recognize Crimea as Russian territory and whether he would contemplate lifting sanctions imposed to punish Moscow’s move into the enclave by the U.S. and its allies.
    “We’ll be looking at that. Yeah, we’ll be looking,” Trump said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/27/politics/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-hack-hillary-clinton/index.html

  • Featured ImageThe cancer drugs in your bathroom cabinet

    Researchers have had promising results treating tumours with everyday medicines. So why arent the big pharma companies investing in trials?

    Helen Hewitt lost her mother, her younger brother and her baby son to cancer. Having successfully overcome breast cancer herself, she is currently battling several tumours in her lungs, and thanks to an inherited mutation in her DNA is at high risk of developing other cancers as well. Yet Helen, 41, is pioneering an unfamiliar approach against this all too familiar foe. Alongside conventional chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy, she is taking a cocktail of experimental yet well-known medicines. Some of them might even be in your bathroom cabinet.

    One is the diabetes drug metformin, which besides making healthy cells more sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin may also help to starve sugar-hungry cancer cells. The cholesterol-lowering statin and the antibiotic shes been prescribed have the added benefit of dampening inflammation a process cancer cells use to help them grow. Then theres mebendazole, a common treatment for threadworm, which may also inhibit the growth of the blood vessels to her tumours.

    Helen sought out these drugs after undergoing surgery to remove one tumour from her lung, only to discover that a different tumour had set up offshoots there as well. It just made sense to try something that might weaken the tumours but wasnt going to have a big impact on me in terms of side effects, says Helen, an NHS podiatrist who lives inWolverhampton.

    Although the jury is still out on whether such drugs really make a difference, these arent the only medicine cabinet stalwarts undergoing a makeover. From aspirin to antacids, beta blockers to ibuprofen, all are being reinvestigated and utilised as potential anti-cancer drugs.

    Unlike older therapies, which directly target and destroy dividing cancer cells, many of these repurposed drugs appear to work by targeting the healthy cells that cancers team up with to support their growth. Though widely accepted, this view of cancer as a mixture of deranged and healthy cells is still relatively new which in part explains why the anti-cancer properties of drugs like aspirin may have been missed the first time around. When many of these drugs were developed, we had a very simplistic view of cancer and all the focus was on finding ways of killing cancer cells, says Pan Pantziarka, joint coordinator of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology project, which aims to identify the most promising medicines for adaptation and get them into clinical trials. But the whole system depends on developing a supporting blood supply, subverting the immune system, and producing certain growth factors. A lot of these repurposed drugs address these other things that cancer is dependent on to survive.

    An early success story is the controversial drug thalidomide. Originally developed as a sedative during the 1950s, it was later used to curb morning sickness during pregnancy, until it was found to increase the risk of severe birth defects and confined to the scrapheap. Thalidomides resurrection as a cancer drug began in the 90s, following the discovery that it inhibited the growth of new blood vessels. A series of case reports also indicated that it might suppress the immune system. Angus Dalgleish, a professor of oncology at St Georges hospital in Tooting, London, became interested in the drug after witnessing the dramatic turnaround of a patient with autoimmune disease who was treated with thalidomide. I started doing some more reading and it struck me that here was a gem that had been thrown out with the rubbish, he says. At around the same time, the results of a small trial of thalidomide in patients with the bone marrow cancer myeloma were published. The patients had failed to respond to standard therapy and were given thalidomide as a last resort; a quarter of them saw a reduction in their cancer as a result. But thalidomide had other side effects besides the awful deformities it generated in foetuses. So working with a startup company called Celgene, Dalgleish helped to develop several less toxic analogues, which were put into clinical trials. One of them was lenalidomide, today a blockbuster myeloma drug, which generates around $4bn in worldwide sales per year.

    The controversial drug thalidomide, now repurposed an an anti-cancer drug. Photograph: AP

    For now at least, thalidomide stands alone as a successfully repurposed anti-cancer drug. But it could soon be joined by aspirin, which has already taken on a new guise as a treatment for heart attacks and stroke. Theres now some very interesting evidence suggesting that it might be a useful anti-cancer drug as well, says Ruth Langley, a medical oncologist at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London. She is currently recruiting for a clinical trial of aspirin in around 11,000 patients who have already undergone the best available treatment for breast, colorectal, gastro-oesophageal or prostate cancer. We are trying to see if, by giving aspirin, we can either delay the cancers coming back or even prevent them coming back altogether, Langley says.

    The idea comes from previous observations that people who take aspirin to prevent heart attacks seem to have lower rates of cancer than the general population, and if they do develop cancer its less likely to spread to other organs. Aspirin acts on particles in the blood called platelets and makes them less sticky. This reduces the likelihood of blood clots, which is why its used to treat cardiova scular disease. One theory is that platelets also surround cancer cells as they travel around the body, making them less visible to the immune system, but they do this less efficiently if someone is taking aspirin. Another theory is that platelets help cancer cells to anchor in new sites and set up new tumours.

    Several trials are under way around the world, investigating the use of the beta-blocker propranolol (more commonly used to treat high blood pressure) in breast, ovarian and other cancers. These follow the discovery that propranolol can be used to treat non-cancerous birthmarks called haemangiomas also known as strawberry marks in children. We said to ourselves, if it works in haemangioma, these drugs must inhibit the growth of blood vessels, so they could be useful to treat cancer too, says Nicolas Andr, a paediatric oncologist at Hpital de La Timone Enfants in Marseilles, France, who is about to start a trial of propranolol in angiosarcoma a cancer of the lining of blood vessels.

    And there are other candidates. The ReDo project has drawn up a list of the six most promising drugs based on their low toxicity, plausible mechanism of action and strong evidence of potential efficacy in humans. They are: the aforementioned anti-worm drug mebendazole; an antacid used to treat stomach ulcers called cimetidine; the angina drug nitroglycerin; a broad-spectrum anti-fungal called itraconazole; an antibiotic used to treat chest infections called clarithromycin; the anti-inflammatory painkiller diclofenac.

    Yet despite the excitement surrounding these drugs, getting them into clinical trials is a long and arduous process. Unlike thalidomide, whose anti-cancer properties were spotted relatively early by someone with the clinical contacts to quickly move things forward, many of these drugs have been ignored, despite preliminary human trials with encouraging results.

    Why is this? Surely pharma companies should be jumping up and down at the prospect of an effective, low toxicity cancer drug particularly when the number of new cancer cases is projected to increase by 70% worldwide over the next two decades. In the UK alone, the number of people living with cancer is predicted to rise to 4 million by 2030, compared with 2.5 million currently. The trouble is that many of the existing drugs showing promise as anti-cancer agents have already lost their patents. A drug company that invests money in supporting a clinical trial is not guaranteed to recoup that money if the trial is successful because some other manufacturer could come in and sell the same drug at a lower price, says Pantziarka. Its a return-on-investment question. Where clinical trials of these drugs have been done, theyve generally been conducted by doctors and small groups of investigators. They dont have the time, experience or the money to take their positive results and change practice, Pantziarka adds.

    Ironically, their low cost is one reason repurposed drugs are such an attractive prospect. The average cost of new cancer drugs has increased from around 70 per month in the 1990s to more than 7,000 per month today; if this trajectory continues then we can expect the first 70,000 a month cancer drug by 2035, says Paul Cornes, an oncologist at the Bristol Oncology Centre. Part of the reason theyre so expensive is because it takes years of testing to ensure that any new treatment is safe and effective. But with repurposed drugs, many of these questions have already been answered. We know theyre relatively safe, because theyre widely used, says Andr. Even so, we need sound, state-of-the-art clinical trials to confirm they work in cancer, and in order to get those we need funding.

    With investment from big pharma lacking, some groups are coming up with creative ways of getting these drugs into clinical trials. In November, doctors at St Georges hospital used crowdfunding to raise 50,000 to test the benefits of the anti-malarial drug artesunate on 140 patients with colorectal cancer. In an earlier pilot study of 20 patients, the cancer spread in six of the 11 given a placebo, compared with just one of the nine given artesunate. In this case, the drug appears to kill cancer cells directly, and it costs just 70p per day.

    Despite promising results like these, it could still be years before we know for sure if repurposed drugs work against cancer, and if so, how best to use them. But unfortunately, time is a luxury many cancer patients cant afford. This has prompted some to take matters into their own hands.

    One of them is Ben Williams, an experimental psychologist at the University of California in San Diego, who was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive brain cancer called a glioblastoma in 1995, aged 50. He immediately underwent surgery, and then radiotherapy, but his prospects looked bleak: the average life expectancy for patients with glioblastoma is just 15 months, with younger people more likely to survive. Williams expected to die within the year.

    With little left to lose, he started searching for other drugs that might complement the chemotherapy he was about to start, using the biomedical literature database PubMed. This provided published studies of alternative glioblastoma treatments, many of which were repurposed drugs. When he identified a relevant-looking drug, hed contact the researchers directly, asking for further information and advice about taking it. Part of my strategy was that I needed to make the chemotherapy more effective, because it didnt work most of the time, says Williams. If youve got a lethal diagnosis, then youre going to have to take some risks to beat it.

    As a result, he started taking a cocktail of drugs more commonly prescribed for acne, insomnia and high blood pressure, as well as the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, which early studies had suggested might help to overcome resistance to chemotherapy. His oncologist was unimpressed. He said, youre going to hurt yourself, but I knew that I was less likely to hurt myself doing this than taking some of the stuff that he was offering, says Williams, who travelled to Mexico to buy some of the drugs he wanted. I was very much aware of the risks. But one of the huge advantages of using repurposed drugs is that you have a lot of toxicity information available already, because they have been used for such a long time.

    In Williamss case, his treatment worked; against the odds, he remains cancer-free to this day. But even he admits he may have just got lucky and been one of the minority who responds well to chemotherapy: I will never know whether any of these things I took made a big difference, and neither will anyone else.

    A scanning electron micrograph image of two prostate cancer cells in the final stage of cell division. Photograph: Steve Gschmeissner/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM

    However, there are good reasons why cancer patients should talk to their doctors, rather than self-medicating even with something as seemingly innocuous as aspirin. Firstly, we dont know if it works, and secondly, even though aspirin is a very common drug, there are side effects, says Langley. There is a small risk of bleeding from your gut, or more seriously, even from your brain. We need to do proper studies and monitor safety very carefully.

    The same goes for other common medicines that may or may not have anti-cancer effects. Even if they are effective, they are drugs that you probably need to take for long periods of time to see the effect otherwise their effects would have been recognised before, Langley adds.

    Pantziarka, too, advises patients to work with their doctors rather than go it alone and also certainly not to see repurposed drugs as an alternative to conventional treatments. When we supply information to people, we encourage them to talk to their medical teams; we do not encourage them to go off and self-medicate.

    But not all doctors are open to new approaches, as Pantziarka knows only too well. He first became interested in the idea of drug repurposing when his teenage son, George, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in his jaw bone. Like Williams, he started researching published trials for his sons condition on PubMed and then directly contacting the clinicians who had run them. The suggestions they came back with included a diabetes drug called pioglitazone, and another anti-inflammatory painkiller called celecoxib, in combination with continuous low doses of chemotherapy.

    My sons doctor was not very positive, Pantziarka says. She said, We dont have any experience of these drugs, and the argument that millions of people take pioglitazone for diabetes had no sway. Eventually, she suggested a different combination of drugs, based on a protocol another doctor at her hospital had used previously. It was ineffective, and only made George feel worse. He died in April 2011, aged 17.

    Doctors are understandably cautious about prescribing drugs for unlicensed uses; their peers may think them strange, and they may also find themselves in trouble if something goes wrong. But Dalgleish is one of those who is prepared to take these risks. He prescribes repurposed drugs for some of his cancer patients, and also liaises with their GPs and asks them to prescribe them, where appropriate. Ive had a lot of hassle for that, he says. Theres no room for freedom to do the best thing for your patients, just because someone hasnt put up millions of pounds to do a big drugs trial.

    This is something that should at least partly be addressed with the Access to Medical Treatments Act which gained royal assent in March. It empowers the health secretary to create a database of innovative medical treatments, including off-label uses of existing drugs for cancer and other diseases. However, doctors still wont be protected against medical negligence claims should something go wrong.

    Cancer Research UK explains how immune cells could tackle tumours

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/12/anti-cancer-drugs-medicine-cabinet-repurposed-aspirin-thalidomide-beta-blockers

  • Featured ImageFarage to resign as UKIP leader in wake of ‘Brexit’ vote

    London (CNN)Nigel Farage announced Monday that he will step down as the leader of the UK Independence Party, saying, “I’ve done my bit” to get Britain out of the European Union.

    He said the party was “in a good position” following the EU referendum and that his political ambition had been achieved.
    “I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician,” Farage said.
    “During the referendum campaign I said I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back.”
    It’s not the first time Farage has said he would resign as the UKIP’s leader. In 2015 he offered to step down after the election, but party members urged him to stay on.

    Who is Nigel Farage?



    For years Farage has operated on the political fringes — ironically as a member of the European Parliament — campaigning against the EU and what he characterized as its looming shadow over British sovereignty.
    He was a former Conservative who left the party in 1992 after Britain signed the Maastricht Treaty, which led to the creation of the EU and its shared currency, the euro.
    Farage then became a founding member of the UKIP, which opposed Maastricht and had a mandate to move Britain away from Europe.

    UK referendum: Full coverage

    • Week that brought UK to its knees
    • What does Brexit mean for you?
    • Boris Johnson won’t stand as PM
    • Can UK get out of Brexit?
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    • How Britons really feel about Brexit
    In an interview with CNN following the June 23 “Brexit” vote, Farage said: “I was written off as being a lunatic, and politically the support for this was absolutely tiny.
    “The little idea was considered a little kooky, and 17 million voted for it … and I couldn’t be happier.”
    Farage’s comments have been controversial, with critics accusing him of peddling racist and xenophobic views.
    He has long campaigned against Britain’s open immigration policy with the EU, saying it has led to an influx of people who have damaged cohesion and created divisions within society.
    Farage caused a stir when his party unveiled a poster before the referendum with the words “Breaking Point. The EU has failed us all,” showing an image of migrants entering Europe last year. Opposition politicians dismissed it as “divisive” and “hate-filled.”

    What’s next for UKIP?

    Farage’s resignation means the UKIP will join the Conservatives, who are also searching for a new leader. Boris Johnson, considered the favorite to replace outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron as Conservative Party leader, delivered a bombshell last week when he announced he didn’t want the job. Cameron had said he would resign after losing his campaign to persuade voters to remain in the EU.
    Following Farage’s announcement, Douglas Carswell, the first elected member of Parliament for the UKIP, posted a smiling emoji with sunglasses on Twitter.
    When asked about the tweet, Farage said: “Well, I’m pleased that he’s smiling because that’s not something I’ve seen very often from him, so it’s obviously very good news.”
    Possible successors — other than Carswell — include the party’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall, immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe, culture spokesman Peter Whittle, deputy chairman Diane James and suspended former deputy chairmanSuzanne Evans.
    Farage declined to endorse a candidate but said, “May the best man or best woman win.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/europe/farage-resign-ukip-brexit/index.html

  • Featured ImageBrexit: Obama warns on global growth after UK vote – BBC News

    Media captionBarack Obama: “There are some genuine longer term concerns about global growth”

    US President Barack Obama has said the UK vote to leave the EU raises “longer-term concerns about global growth”.

    He said Brexit would “freeze the possibilities of investment in Great Britain or in Europe as a whole”.

    He appealed to the UK prime minister and other EU leaders to ensure an orderly process for the British exit.

    Earlier EU leaders warned that the UK must honour the principle of free movement of people if it wants to retain access to the single market.

    The leaders of the other 27 EU countries were meeting in Brussels without the UK for the first time in more than 40 years.


    Mr Obama was speaking at a summit in Ottawa with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, aimed at strengthening economic ties between North American countries.

    He said the preparations by central banks and finance ministers indicated that “global economy in the short run will hold steady”.

    Image copyright AFP
    Image caption EU leaders insist that access to the single market depends on freedom of movement of goods, workers, services and capital

    But he added: “I think there are some genuine longer-term concerns about global growth if in fact Brexit goes through and that freezes the possibilities of investment in Great Britain or in Europe as a whole.

    “At a time when global growth rates were weak already, this doesn’t help,” the president said.

    Catching breath

    Mr Obama also strongly defended free trade and promised to press on with plans for a Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Without mentioning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – who opposes the plan – he said: “We’ve had times throughout our history where anti-immigration sentiment is exploited by demagogues. But guess what? They kept coming.”

    Mr Obama said his main message to Britain and Germany was: “Everybody should catch their breath. I think that will be a difficult, challenging process, but it does not need to be a panicky process,”

    Image copyright AP
    Image caption German Chancellor Angela Merkel says freedom of movement is essential to the single market
    Image copyright PA
    Image caption EU leaders have outlined “four freedoms” that underlie access to the internal market

    The president said he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and that her interest was making sure Britain’s exit worked, not retribution.

    Mrs Merkel was one of many EU leaders to stress again on Wednesday that freedom of movement for EU citizens was an essential part of the single market – and that there would be no negotiations with the UK until the bloc was formally notified of its intention to leave.

    Image copyright AP
    Image caption Mr Cameron has since the referendum reiterated that the task of negotiating Britain’s exit form the EU would be the responsibility of a new prime minister

    After their meeting, the 27 EU leaders said in a statement: “Access to the single market requires acceptance of all four freedoms.”

    The “four freedoms” that underlie the EU’s internal market are the freedom of movement of goods, workers, services and capital.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have separate phone talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Thursday, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

    Mr Cameron announced he would resign after the campaign he led for his country to remain in the EU was defeated by 52% to 48% in Thursday’s referendum.

    The outgoing leader said that he would attempt to “steady the ship”, but that it would be for the new prime minister to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal.

    He told parliament in London that the issue of freedom of movement would be difficult to resolve.

    “Frankly, it’s a difficult issue inside the EU, where you’ve got all the negotiating ability to try and change things, and I think it will be in many ways even more difficult from outside,” he said.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36669530

  • Featured ImageMicrosoft buys LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.

    Image: microsoft

    Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, marking one of the biggest tech mergers in recent memory and giving the software giant a firm foothold in the online professional world.

    The move is easily the largest by Microsoft (it bought Nokia for $7.6 billion in 2013 and Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011), and marks its largest entry into the social media realm (it bought Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012).

    LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and grew into the largest professional social network, with 105 million active monthly users and more than 433 million accounts.

    Microsoft announced the deal in a blog post on Monday morning.

    In an email to staff, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella touted the pairing as a way to improve both companies by integrating LinkedIn’s content and network with Microsoft’s cloud computing and productivity tools.

    “This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task youre trying to complete. As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow,”Nadella wrote.

    “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the worlds professionals,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the blog post. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

    Microsoft and LinkedIn released a video promoting the move.

    LinkedIn had been struggling as a standalone company. It shares declined a whopping 43% in one day in February after it issued disappointing projections for the year.

    The deal values LinkedIn at $196 per share, meaning Microsoft is paying a 50% premium on the company’s Friday share price of about $131.

    Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, said that the combination will help Microsoft on its mission to become the premier business-to-business and workplace company.

    Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIns network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works, Weiner said.

    Weiner will remain atop the company, according to the press release.

    While LinkedIn shares predictably skyrocketed following the news, the market was less excited for Microsoft. It’s shares were down 3.6% in premarket trading on Monday morning.

    Investors weren’t the only ones with a skeptical take. Moody’s rating agency, which grades corporate debt, put Microsoft’s pristine Aaa rating on review for downgrade due to the acquisition.

    The agency cited the fact that Microsoft bought LinkedIn entirely with cash (as opposed to using some shares in Microsoft), forcing the company to accrue a larger amount of debt compared to before the move.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/06/13/microsoft-linkedin-26-billion/

  • Featured ImageJohn Cena reminds everyone what the average American looks like in patriotic PSA


    John Cena wants to body slam bigotry in America.

    In a new public service announcement that feels as if it could just as easily be an ad announcing a “Cena 2016” campaign, the pro wrestler gives an earnest-sounding lecture about how patriotism goes hand in hand with respect for the diversity of the American people.

    Released just in time for the Fourth of July, the three and a half minute video is the Ad Council’s follow-up to last year’s massively popular hit, “Love has no Labels.”

    That ad involved a giant X-ray screen erected in Santa Monica, California, on Valentine’s Day that rendered couples and friends as kissing, dancing and hugging skeletons. Timed to air months before the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on gay marriage, the message was that love is a universal human experience.

    This time around, the Ad Council decided that the current political climate merited a frank reminder of who exactly we are talking about when we refer to to borrow every politician’s favorite phrase “everyday Americans.”

    Cena breaks it down: Of 319 million U.S. citizens, 51% are female, 54 million are Latino, 27 million are disabled, 9 million are LGBT, 3.5 million are Muslim and the list goes on through many more statistics about people’s identifiers.

    “Almost half the country belongs to minority groups,” Cena says in conclusion. “What’s more American than the freedom to celebrate the things that make us, us?”

    The campaign was produced in partnership with the WWE, Facebook and Google along with a host of other big-name brands including Coke, Pepsi and State Farm.

    Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/07/04/john-cena-love-has-no-labels/

  • Featured ImageNo single market access for UK after Brexit, Wolfgang Schuble says

    In Der Spiegel interview German finance minister rules out Britains chances of enjoying bloc benefits from outside EU

    Germanys finance minister, Wolfgang Schuble, has slammed the door on Britain retaining access to the single market if it votes to the leave the European Union.

    In an interview in a Brexit-themed issue of German weekly Der Spiegel, the influential veteran politician ruled out the possibility of the UK following a Swiss or Norwegian model where it could enjoy the benefits of the single market without being an EU member.

    That wont work, Schuble told Der Spiegel. It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw.

    If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people.

    The German conservatives intervention seems to rule out the reverse Maastricht option floated privately by some British MPs and government sources, whereby pro-remain MPs in Westminster could use their parliamentary majority to retain access to the single market after a British exit from the EU.

    Their first target is likely to be to try to ensure that despite a Brexit the UK could remain in the single market by joining the European economic area, of which the non-EU countries Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland are currently members.

    The single market to which Switzerland also has access despite not being a member of either the EU or the EEA guarantees the free movement of people, goods and services inside the bloc.

    Supporters of the British Leave campaign argue that it is in Germanys economic interest to maintain barrier-free trade relations with the United Kingdom. Britain is the third largest export market for German car manufacturers, and the destination of around 7% of total German exports.

    But commentators in Germany point out that Germany has more to lose from a Brexit than a segment of its export market, and that the government was able sideline economic interest to diplomacy in its relationship with Russia.

    Until recently, the assumption in Berlins political circles had been that Schubles finance ministry was more open than others to the idea of keeping open a back door for renegotiating some form of associate membership for Britain after an out vote.

    Referendum explained: Norway

    But the interview in Der Spiegel, which will be published on Saturday but has been seen by the Guardian, indicates a less flexible stance.

    Europe will also work without Britain if necessary, Schuble said. At some point, the British will realise they have taken the wrong decision. And then we will accept them back one day, if thats what they want.

    The Christian Democrat, seen as the key actor behind Germanys hardline stance towards Greece at the height of the eurozone debt crisis, said he and his counterparts in the eurozone would do everything possible to contain these consequences.

    We are preparing for all possible scenarios to limit the risks, he added.

    While warning that it would be a miracle if there were no economic drawbacks for Britain following a withdrawal, Schuble also admitted that a Brexit could have dramatic consequences for the rest of the European Union.

    The 73-year-old said it could not be ruled out that other countries could follow Britains lead after the referendum on 23 June: How, for example, would the Netherlands react, as a country that has traditionally had very close ties to Britain? It is important for the EU to send the message that it has understood the vote and is prepared to learn from it.

    Schuble also poured cold water on suggestions that France and Germany would react to Britains departure from the 28-member bloc with a leap towards accelerated integration. On the contrary, he said, it was important that the EU needed to show that it could learn from the British referendum.

    In response to Brexit, we couldnt simply call for more integration, he is quoted as saying. That would be crude; many would rightfully wonder whether we politicians still havent understood.

    Even in the event that only a small majority of the British voters reject a withdrawal, we would have to see it as a wake-up call and a warning not to continue with business as usual. Either way, we have to take a serious look at reducing bureaucracy in Europe.

    Leading figures in the campaign to leave the EU, including Michael Gove, the UK justice secretary, want to officially withdraw from the single market to stop freedom of movement, but Matthew Elliott, its chief executive, said in response to Schuble: The eurozone economies are dependent on trade with the UK. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, while many of them are in a desperate state due to the failing single currency. There is no question about it, Britain will still have access to the single market after we vote leave. It would be perverse of the eurozone to try to create artificial barriers – and would do far more damage to them than to anyone else.

    One thing that will change if we vote leave is that we will be able to forge trade deals with the economic powerhouses of the future the emerging markets which we are currently forbidden from doing by the EU. Thats why we will not only be stronger and more secure if we vote to leave the EU, we will also be more prosperous.

    However, George Osborne, the UK chancellor, who has played a leading role in the remain campaign, tweeted:

    George Osborne (@George_Osborne) June 10, 2016

    Major intervention from Germany: UK would have to accept free movement and pay in to EU to continue to access trade https://t.co/jIAPPXM6hT

    Peter Mandelson, the former EU trade commissioner and ex-business secretary, said Schubles comments finally knocks on the head the leave campaigns claim that we can leave the EU and still enjoy the benefits of the single market.

    We cannot leave the club and continue to use its facilities, the Labour peer said. Being outside the single market wold be a hammer blow to the UK economy. Our future trade will be hit and our manufacturing sector, which relies on the single markets free movement of goods and people, will be at risk. This is the cold reality of Brexit that the British people must face. If we leave we lose the economic gains of being the worlds largest free-trade zone, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.

    The leave campaign has said it does not want to be in the single market, because it would not want the UK to have free movement. But its leading advocates, including Boris Johnson and Gove, dismiss the idea that Germany or other EU countries would impose trade tariffs given they sell the UK more in manufactured goods than they buy.

    Schubles comments come on the same day that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, repeated her hope that Britain would vote to remain in the EU. Speaking on Friday to a group representing family-owned businesses, Merkel said: From my point of view, Great Britain remaining in the European Union is the best and most desirable thing for us all.

    She added: We have very close cooperation on many questions with Great Britain, and would of course like to continue this within the framework of the European Union.

    How would Brexit affect you?

    Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/10/no-single-market-access-for-uk-after-brexit-wolfgang-schauble-says