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The United States is preparing to waive the patent for Covid vaccines

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration came out on Wednesday in support of waiving intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, siding with international efforts to bolster production amid concerns about vaccine access in developing nations.

The United States had been a major holdout at the World Trade Organization over a proposal to suspend some of the world economic body’s intellectual property protections, which could allow drugmakers across the globe access to the closely guarded trade secrets of how the viable vaccines have been made. But President Biden had come under increasing pressure to throw his support behind the proposal, drafted by India and South Africa and backed by many congressional Democrats.

Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, announced the administration’s position on Wednesday afternoon, as the pandemic continues to spiral in India and South America.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” she said in a statement. “The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines.”

Support from the White House is not a guarantee that a waiver will be adopted. The European Union has also been standing in the way, and changes to international intellectual property rules require unanimous agreement. Ms. Tai said the United States would participate in negotiations at the World Trade Organization over the matter, but that they would “take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved.”

Standing against her will be the pharmaceutical industry, which responded angrily to the extraordinary decision. Stephen J. Ubl, the president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, called the announcement “an unprecedented step that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety.”

“This decision will sow confusion between public and private partners, further weaken already strained supply chains and foster the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines,” he said in a statement, adding that the move would have the effect of “handing over American innovations to countries looking to undermine our leadership in biomedical discovery.”

The pharmaceutical industry has argued that a suspension of patent protections would undermine risk-taking and innovation.

“Who will make the vaccine next time?” Brent Saunders, the former chief executive of Allergan, which is now part of AbbVie.

Global health activists, who have been pressing for the waiver, praised the administration’s decision. It is “a truly historic step, which shows that President Biden is committed to being not just an American leader, but a global one,” said Priti Krishtel, an executive director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge.

But the activists said a waiver alone would not increase the world’s vaccine supply. It must be accompanied by a process known as “tech transfer,” in which patent holders supply technical know-how and personnel. Activists are also demanding that Mr. Biden use his leverage to ensure that manufacturing is scaled up around the globe, and not just by the pharmaceutical companies that now hold the patents.

“No U.S.T.R. has made a pronouncement like this,” said Asia Russell, the executive director of Health GAP, a global AIDS treatment advocacy group, using the abbreviation for the trade representative. “And now the actions have to match the words.”

The United States’ announcement is only one step toward a potential international agreement on suspending intellectual property rights. Negotiating the fine print of an agreement that satisfies countries around the world is a tall order. If an agreement can be reached at the World Trade Organization, it is far from clear what would happen next.

Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, a patent law professor at Stanford Law School, suggested that the Biden administration’s move may help sway the drug industry to reach “deals that they can live with.”

Ana Santos Rutschman, a health law expert at Saint Louis University School of Law, said the drug industry now has a clear incentive to “shift the debate to the global equity problem in accessing doses that we can actually produce, as opposed to getting into this enormous fight.” The best bet for companies, she said, may be to take steps like donating more vaccine doses or selling them on a nonprofit basis to lower-income countries in need.

The debate over whether to relax intellectual property rules has stretched on for months. India and South Africa proposed the waiver last fall, seeking to suspend portions of an international intellectual property agreement dealing with issues like patents, copyrights and trade secrets. Under President Donald J. Trump, the United States opposed the effort. Other opponents have included Britain and the European Union.

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Mission group urges Christians to pray for release of missionary pilot, 2 volunteers imprisoned in Mozambique

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The U.S.-based ministry Mission Aviation Fellowship is urging Christians to pray for the release and safety of one of its pilots, Ryan Koher, and two South African volunteers who have been detained for nearly a month in Mozambique on suspicion of supporting insurgent activity.

Koher, 31, and two South Africans — 77-year-old W.J. du Plessis and 69-year-old Eric Dry — were detained in the coastal city of Inhambane on Nov. 4 while they were loading supplies into the aircraft to be taken to church-run orphanages in the Montepuez district in the troubled Cabo Delgado Province.

“I urge Christians around the world to pray for Ryan’s safety and swift release, and call on those in power both in Mozambique and here in the U.S. to do everything they can to resolve this wrongful detainment,” MAF President and CEO David Holsten said in a statement Friday.

While conducting the normal security scan at the airport, police asked about the supplies — vitamins, over-the-counter medications and food preservatives — Koher was to deliver for the orphanages and adult staff, the ministry said, adding that Koher is a pilot for its partner, Ambassador Aviation Ltd.

“None of the confiscated material belonged to Koher nor had it been loaded onto the airplane. AAL has been conducting these annual supply charter flights to the orphanages since 2014.”

The three men have been jailed on a still undetermined written charge, according to MAF.

While the three men were suspected to be supporting insurgency, “Ambassador Aviation has long sought to care for those who have been harmed by the insurgency, including evacuating innocent residents following a March 2021 insurgent attack.”

Islamic extremists have been exploiting a crisis in the coastal province of Cabo Delgado. A civil war started in 2017 over the area rich with gas, rubies, graphite, gold and other natural resources. Protesters demonstrated against what they say is profits going to an elite in the ruling Frelimo Party, with few jobs for local residents.

In the mostly Muslim region of Cabo Delgado in the otherwise Christian-majority country, Islamic extremists kidnap women and force boys to become child soldiers, The Washington Post reported in October.

“In 2017, jihadist insurgents began in the Cabo-Delgado province, winning over some locals due to the fact that they gave back resources to villagers from the government, and killed no one,” the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported. “This did not last, however, as IS started setting fire to Christian villages, and killing those who lived there.”

A lawyer from AAL the U.S. Embassy are engaged in the situation, MAF said, adding, however, that Embassy officials were denied access to Koher at a prison in Inhambane. Koher was later moved to the Machava High Security Prison near Maputo.

“Ryan is a caring and gentle individual,” Holsten said. “Over the last couple of years, he and his wife have worked hard to learn the language and culture of Mozambique to better serve those who rely on our service. Understandably, this situation has been very challenging for the family. We fully believe in Ryan’s innocence, and we are all praying that this issue will be resolved very soon with the charges dismissed and Ryan released.”
Sources:Christian Post

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Do Christians Really Donate More? Bible’s Stunning Impact on Charitable Giving Revealed in Fascinating New Study

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As the debate over the impact of Christianity on charitable behavior forges on, a new study reveals Scripturally-engaged Americans are “far more likely than others to donate to charity.”

In fact, the majority of these individuals — people who interact consistently with Scripture and allow it to shape their lives and relationships — report giving to such causes, according to the eighth chapter of “The State of the Bible” report.

“Americans who are engaged with the Bible gave $145 billion to charitable causes in 2021,” a statement from the American Bible Society read. “And … Practicing Christians, those who are actively living out their faith, are much more likely to give.”

The results are pretty stunning when comparing people engaged in the Bible with those who are disengaged as well as the so-called Moveable Middle, a group falling between those dynamics.

Bible-engaged Americans gave a total of $145 billion to charities in 2021, amounting to about $2,907 per household. The same figure for the Bible disengaged was just $924.

To underscore the monumental nature of that giving, consider that Scripturally engaged Americans account for just 19% of adults yet give 44% of every dollar donated.

The finer details point to the fascinating nature of this group’s generosity.

“People who are Scripture-engaged gave six-times as much to churches as those in the Movable Middle and 13-times as much as those who are Bible-disengaged,” a statement explained. “When it comes to non-church giving, Scripture-engaged Americans gave 9% more than the Bible-disengaged and 165% more than the Movable Middle.”

Giving among active believers is, thus, much higher than for other cohorts.

Dr. John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society, said his organization’s research continues to show “a strong correlation between charitable giving and human flourishing.” This is particularly relevant among Christians surveyed in the annual report.

“Engaging with the Bible and actively living out our faith doesn’t simply mean reading the words in the pages of Scripture — rather, it is a transformation of the heart that inspires us to love and live well,” Plake said.

The results for this chapter of the “State of the Bible” were collected from 2,598 phone and online responses from American adults in January 2022.

Atheists will often decry the Bible and its contents, yet study after study shows the strong benefits faith offers individuals and, in turn, the culture at large.

As Faithwire reported, an earlier chapter from the “State of the Bible” report showed “Americans who consistently read and apply the Bible report greater levels of hope and resilience.” Read more about the Bible’s significant impact on the faithful here.
Sources:faithwire

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PASTOR JACOB MATHEW – 57 MEMORIAL SERVICE 12/02/2022

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For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We walk by faith, and not by sight! Pastor Jacob Mathew (57 ) has been promoted to his eternal home and went to be with Jesus on 11/24/2022 . He served as the assistant Pastor of the Mizpah Church of God. Pullad. He lived a life that exampled Jesus Christ, a life of servitude,faith,and love. He will be missed by his family, his wife Shiney,daughter Jesna Jacob and son Joel Jacob.

We kindly request for prayers at this time for the family. He is Survived by his mother, Thankamma Mathew, sister Mary Mathew, and brother Paul Mathew and family.


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