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Portland mayor demands Trump remove federal agents from the city following detentions

The mayor of Portland, Ore., demanded Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump remove militarized federal agents he deployed to the city after some detained people on streets far from federal property they were sent to protect.

“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said at a news conference.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said Trump is looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere. It also serves as a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing spiking numbers of infections in Oregon and the nation.

Brown’s spokesperson, Charles Boyle, said Friday that arresting people without probable cause is “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights.”

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she would file a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection and Federal Protection Service alleging they violated the civil rights of Oregonians by detaining them without probable cause. She said she will also seek a temporary restraining order against them.

Rights violations ‘should concern everyone’

The ACLU of Oregon said the federal agents appear to be violating people’s rights, which “should concern everyone in the United States.”

“Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. “The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”

Protesters are shown removing fencing downtown during a demonstration on Thursday in Portland, Ore. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via The Associated Press)

U.S. federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Thursday. Some have been detained by the federal courthouse, which has been the scene of protests. But others were grabbed blocks away.

“This is part of the core media strategy out of Trump’s White House: to use federal troops to bolster his sagging polling data,” Wheeler said. “And it is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials.”

One video showed two people in helmets and green camouflage with “police” patches grabbing a person on the sidewalk, handcuffing them and taking them into an unmarked vehicle.

“Who are you?” someone asks the pair, who do not respond. At least some of the federal officers belong to the Department of Homeland Security.

Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that its agents had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaulting federal agents or destroying federal property.

“Once CBP agents approached the suspect, a large and violent mob moved towards their location. For everyone’s safety, CBP agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location,” the agency said. However, the video shows no mob.

U.S. federal officers pull a protester into the federal courthouse as protesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on July 10 The increased presence of federal officers has displeased the city’s mayor and the state governor. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via The Associated Press)

In another case, Mark Pettibone, 29, said a minivan rolled up to him at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, and four or five people got out “looking like they were deployed to a Middle Eastern war.”

Pettibone told The Associated Press he got to his knees as the group approached. They dragged him into the van without identifying themselves or responding to his questions and pulled his beanie over his eyes so he couldn’t see, he said.

“I figured I was just going to disappear for an indefinite amount of time,” he said.

Pettibone said he was put into a cell, and officers dumped the contents of his backpack, with one remarking: “Oh, this is a bunch of nothing.”

After he asked for a lawyer, Pettibone was allowed to leave.

“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a tweet.

Congress members seek answers

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams in Portland said Friday he has asked the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate the actions of DHS personnel.

In a letter Friday, Oregon’s two senators and two of its House members demanded that U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf immediately withdraw “these federal paramilitary forces from our state.”

The members of Congress also said they’ll be asking the DHS inspector general and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the presence and actions of federal forces in Portland.

“It’s painfully clear this administration is focused purely on escalating violence without answering my repeated requests for why this expeditionary force is in Portland and under what constitutional authority,” Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said.

Watch | Trump stokes division with comments about race:

U.S. President Donald Trump might be using comments about race and political correctness to try to deflect from the COVID-19 pandemic, but some Republicans say they’re creating more division within the party and could cost him votes. 2:01

On Thursday night, federal officers deployed tear gas and fired non-lethal rounds into a crowd of protesters.

Wolf visited Portland on Thursday and called the demonstrators, who are protesting racism and police brutality, “violent anarchists.”

Wolf blamed state and city authorities for not putting an end to the protests. But Portland police said Friday they wound up arresting 20 people overnight.

At least two protests occurred Thursday night, one near the federal courthouse and the other by a police station in another part of the city. Police told protesters to leave that site after announcing they heard some chanting about burning down the building. Protester Paul Frazier said Friday the chant was “much more rhetorical than an actual statement.”

Police walk through fire and smoke as hundreds of people gather in Portland, Ore., on May 30 to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis five days earlier. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via The Associated Press)

Portland police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters Friday that his officers are in contact with the federal agents but that neither controls the others’ actions.

“We do communicate with federal officers for the purpose of situational awareness and deconfliction,” Lovell said. “We’re operating in a very, very close proximity to one another.”

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon on Friday added the federal government to a lawsuit it filed earlier to halt the use of crowd-control measures, including tear gas and rubber bullets, against journalists and legal observers at protests in Portland.

“The lawsuit is one of many the ACLU will be filing against federal authorities in Portland for their unconstitutional attacks on people protesting the police killing of George Floyd,” the group said.

Tensions have escalated in the past two weeks, particularly after an officer with the U.S. Marshals Service fired a less-lethal round at a protester’s head on July 11, critically injuring him.

The protests following the police killing of Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 have often devolved into violent clashes between smaller groups and the police.

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CBC | World News

Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove Confederate emblem from flag

Mississippi will surrender the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag, more than a century after white supremacist legislators embedded it there a generation after the South lost the Civil War.

Mississippi’s House and Senate voted in succession Sunday afternoon to retire the flag, with broad bipartisan support. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill, and the state flag would lose its official status as soon as he signs the measure.

The state has faced increasing pressure to change its flag during the past month amid international protests against racial injustice in the United States.

A commission would design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words “In God We Trust.” Voters will be asked to approve the new design in the Nov. 3 election. If they reject it, the commission will set a different design using the same guidelines, and that would be sent to voters later.

Mississippi has a 38 per cent Black population — and the last state flag that incorporates the emblem that’s widely seen as racist.

Mississippi state senators embrace after the Senate voted to change the state flag on Sunday. (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press)

Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, who is white, has pushed for five years to change the flag, saying that the Confederate symbol is offensive. The House passed the bill 91-23 Sunday afternoon, and the Senate passed it 37-14 later.

“How sweet it is to celebrate this on the Lord’s day,” Gunn said. “Many prayed to Him to bring us to this day. He has answered.”

Debated before

Debate over changing the flag has arisen before, and in recent years an increasing number of cities and all the state’s public universities have taken it down on their own. But the issue has never garnered enough support in the conservative Republican-dominated legislature or with recent governors.

That dynamic changed in a matter of weeks as an extraordinary and diverse coalition of political, business, religious groups and sports leaders pushed to change the flag.

At a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in early June, thousands cheered as an organizer said the state needs to divorce itself from all Confederate symbols.

Religious groups — including the large and influential Mississippi Baptist Convention — said erasing the rebel emblem from the state flag is a moral imperative.

Business groups said the banner hinders economic development in one of the poorest states in the nation.

In a sports-crazy culture, the biggest blow might have happened when college sports leagues said Mississippi could lose postseason events if it continued flying the Confederate-themed flag. Nearly four dozen of Mississippi’s university athletic directors and coaches came to the Capitol to lobby for change.

A person walks around the Capitol carrying the current Mississippi state flag and the U.S. flag on Saturday. (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press)

“We need something that fulfils the purpose of being a state flag and that everybody in the state has a reason to be proud of,” said Mike Leach, football coach at Mississippi State University.

Many people who wanted to keep the emblem on the Mississippi flag said they see it as a symbol of heritage.

Legislators put the Confederate emblem on the upper left corner of Mississippi flag in 1894, as white people were squelching political power that Black people gained after the Civil War.

WATCH | Should Confederate monuments be on display in the U.S. Capitol?

Inside Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill, Lyndsay Duncombe revisits the issue of whether Confederate monuments should still be on public display 5:55

The battle emblem is a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars. The Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups have waved the rebel flag for decades. Georgia put the battle emblem prominently on its state flag in 1956, during a backlash to the civil rights movement. That state removed the symbol from its banner in 2001.

The Mississippi Supreme Court found in 2000 that when the state updated its laws in 1906, portions dealing with the flag were not included. That meant the banner lacked official status. The Democratic governor in 2000, Ronnie Musgrove, appointed a commission to decide the flag’s future. It held hearings across the state that grew ugly as people shouted at each other about the flag.

After that, legislators opted not to set a flag design themselves. They put the issue on a 2001 statewide ballot, and people voted to keep the flag. An alternate proposal would have replaced the Confederate corner with a blue field topped by a cluster of white stars representing Mississippi as the 20th state.

Democratic state Sen. Derrick Simmons of Greenville, who is Black, said the state deserves a flag that will make all people proud. “Today is a history-making day in the state of Mississippi,” Simmons told colleagues before the Senate voted for passage. “Let’s vote today for the Mississippi of tomorrow.”

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Princeton to remove former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson’s name from public policy school

The latest:

Princeton University has announced plans to remove the name of former president Woodrow Wilson from its public policy school because of his segregationist views, reversing a decision the Ivy League school in Princeton, N.J., made four years ago to keep the name.

University president Christopher Eisgruber said in a letter to the school community Saturday that the board of trustees had concluded that “Wilson’s racist views and policies make him an inappropriate namesake” for Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and the residential college.

Eisgruber said the trustees decided in April 2016 on some changes to make the university “more inclusive and more honest about its history” but decided to retain Wilson’s name, but revisited the issue in light of the recent killings of George Floyd and others.

Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes even as he pleaded for air and stopped moving.

Wilson, governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913 and then the 28th U.S. president from 1913 to 1921, supported segregation and imposed it on several federal agencies not racially divided up to that point. He also barred Black students from Princeton while serving as university president and spoke approvingly of the Ku Klux Klan.

Earlier in the week, Monmouth University of New Jersey removed Wilson’s name from one of its most prominent buildings, citing efforts to increase diversity and inclusiveness. The superintendent of the Camden school district also announced plans to rename Woodrow Wilson High School, one of the district’s two high schools.

Woodrow Wilson is pictured in 1924. (The Associated Press)

“Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time,” Eisgruber said.

The former president’s segregationist policies “make him an especially inappropriate namesake for a public policy school,” he said.

The trustees said they had taken what they called “this extraordinary step” because Wilson’s name was not appropriate “for a school whose scholars, students, and alumni must be firmly committed to combatting the scourge of racism in all its forms.”

The school will now be known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, he said. Princeton had already planned to close Wilson College and retire its name after opening two new residential colleges currently under construction but will change the name to First College immediately.

Eisgruber said the conclusions “may seem harsh to some” since Wilson is credited with having “remade Princeton, converting it from a sleepy college into a great research university,” and he went on to become president and receive a Nobel Prize.

But while Princeton honoured Wilson despite or perhaps even in ignorance of his views, that is part of the problem, Eisgruber said.

“Princeton is part of an America that has too often disregarded, ignored, or excused racism, allowing the persistence of systems that discriminate against Black people,” he said.

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University is pictured in 2015. (Mel Evans/The Associated Press)

Four years ago, a 10-member committee gathered input from Wilson scholars and more than 600 submissions from alumni, faculty and the public before concluding that Wilson’s accomplishments merited commemoration, so long as his faults were also candidly recognized. The committee report also said using his name “implies no endorsement of views and actions that conflict with the values and aspirations of our times.”

Thousands call for justice in death of Black man put into chokehold

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside a suburban Denver police building Saturday to call for justice in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man put into a chokehold by police last year.

McClain’s death last August has prompted a handful of small protests over the last 10 months, but his case has garnered renewed attention amid the global outcry sparked when Floyd died.

Saturday’s demonstrations in Aurora were organized by the Denver chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Denver Post reported. They began with a march and rally, which were expected to be followed by a youth-led protest and a violin vigil.

Demonstrators carry placards as they walk down Sable Boulevard during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain on Saturday in Aurora, Colo. McClain died in late August 2019 after he was stopped while walking to his apartment by three Aurora Police Department officers. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

One protester, 25-year-old Franklin Williams, came to show support and make sure the fervour continues.

“This shouldn’t be a moment,” Williams said. “This should be a movement.”

Social media posts of the protests early Saturday afternoon showed crowds of people demonstrating peacefully while police forces stood by wearing tactical gear.

Some in the crowd chanted, “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.”

Marchers walked behind a banner reading, “Justice for Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora police.”

Mississippi moves to remove Confederate battle emblem from state flag

Spectators at the Mississippi Capitol broke into applause Saturday as lawmakers took a big step toward erasing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, a symbol that has come under intensifying criticism in recent weeks amid nationwide protests against racial injustice.

“The eyes of the state, the nation and indeed the world are on this House,” the second-ranking office in the Mississippi House, Jason White, told his colleagues.

The gallery of the Mississippi Senate rise and applaud Saturday after the body passed a resolution that would allow lawmakers to change the state flag. (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press)

The House and Senate voted by more than the required two-thirds majority to suspend legislative deadlines and file a bill to change the flag. That would allow debate on a bill as soon as Sunday.

Saturday’s vote was the big test, though, because of the margin. Only a simple majority is needed to pass a bill.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Saturday for the first time that he would sign a bill to change the flag if the Republican-controlled legislature sends him one. He had previously said that he would not veto one — a more passive stance.

Alabama officer fired after posting image of protester in crosshairs

An Alabama police chief says one of his officers has been fired after posting a photo on social media that depicted a protester in the crosshairs of a rifle scope.

Former Officer Ryan Snow was fired Friday, Hoover police Chief Nick Derzis said.

The officer posted the image on Facebook Tuesday in response to an article about protesters at the Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta where Rayshard Brooks was killed, AL.com reported. Protesters torched the restaurant June 13, the night after police killed Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, in the restaurant parking lot after he resisted arrest and fired a Taser while he was running away.

Snow admitted to posting the image, which also included the comment: “Exhale. Feel. Pause. Press steadily. That’s what’s next,” Derzis said.

“When I saw the post and the image, it sickened me,” Derzis said. “It certainly did not adhere to the standards expected of every officer who wears our uniform.

“This type of conduct will not be tolerated in our department and is not representative of the professionalism expected by all of our officers.”

Hoover is just south of Birmingham and home to about 86,000 residents.

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YouTube Says It Will Remove 5G Misinformation as Frightened People Burn Cell Towers

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YouTube has announced it will remove videos on its platform that baselessly link 5G to coronavirus after arsonists in the UK set multiple towers on fire last week. Theories linking the two have been circulating on social media in various forms, obviously to some effect.

The funniest thing about the idea that 5G could cause coronavirus is the idea that 5G is capable of causing anything. 5G can’t even cause good cell phone reception, which is its ostensible purpose for existing. If 5G were the Kool-Aid man, pop culture would be full of references to a large glass pitcher smashing itself to bits on an unperturbed brick wall, possibly with a faint pitiful squeak of “Oh no!”

“Please help us to make this stop,” says the joint statement, evincing a remarkably poor grasp of what are commonly referred to as “fighting words.” “If you witness abuse of our key workers please report it. If you see misinformation, please call it out.”


Joint letter by UK telcos. Try pulling this on Verizon and they’ll write the letter in your favorite pet’s blood —  but only after showing up six months late for your appointment, at the wrong house.

In some cases, arsonists are burning LTE towers instead of 5G, because somehow the same people who think burning cell phone towers will stop a viral pandemic aren’t all that good at distinguishing one type of network equipment from another.

This Is, In Fact, an Improvement

Two of the things I like to do for fun are read about disasters on Wikipedia and really liven up parties. The default, knee-jerk response on a story like this is to laugh at all the morons who think 5G causes coronavirus. The unsettling truth is: This is not only positively normal, burning cell phone towers is an enormous step forward for us as a species.

Historically, people had absolutely no idea where pandemics came from or what caused them. Pandemics have been blamed on a lot of things you’re probably aware of, like angry gods, bad air, and, say, the coincidental appearance of a comet in the sky. They’ve also been historically been blamed on Jews, other minorities, beggars, lepers, the Romani, and those with disorders like acne and psoriasis. When I visited The Cloisters in New York City back in December, I visited an exhibit on what is known as the Colmar Treasure. The Colmar Treasure consists of the possessions of a medieval Jewish family living in Alsace who did not survive the outbreak of plague in that city, courtesy of their scapegoat-seeking neighbors.

It should also be noted that even the earliest chroniclers of pandemics for which we have a record, like Thucydides, doubted supernatural explanations for these events and believed they must have a natural explanation. Hoaxes, scams, scapegoating, and lies are not a modern invention or unique to a political outlook. Humans, as a group, are bad at pandemics. It isn’t unsurprising to see people defying Covid-19 lockdowns or licking toilet seats. It’d be more surprising if people didn’t do these things, based on our collective historic behavior.

That said? 5G causes neither Covid-19 nor cancer. It may be almost worthless, but it isn’t killing you.

Now Read:

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U.S. FDA moves to remove all versions of heartburn drug Zantac from market

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it was requesting makers of all versions of heartburn drug Zantac to remove the products from the market immediately due to the presence of a probable carcinogen.

French drugmaker Sanofi SA’s Zantac and some generic versions of the treatment, also known as ranitidine, have been recalled over the last year due to possible contamination with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

The FDA said it had determined that NDMA in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures, resulting in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of the impurity.

“We didn’t observe unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples that we tested,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“However, since we don’t know how or for how long the product might have been stored, we decided that it should not be available.”

The FDA also said consumers taking over-the-counter ranitidine should stop taking the drug and not buy more, and those taking prescription ranitidine should ask their doctor about other options before discontinuing treatment.

Last year, Health Canada advised consumers:

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist at your earliest convenience about alternative, non-ranitidine treatment options appropriate for your health circumstances.
  • Individuals taking a prescription ranitidine drug, including a recalled product, should not stop taking it unless they have spoken to their health-care provider and obtained alternative treatment, as the risk of not treating the condition may be greater than the risk related to NDMA exposure.

“Health Canada continues to work with companies and international partners to understand the root causes of nitrosamines in drugs,” the regulator said in an email Wednesday.

Health Canada added it will take action if a risk to Canadians is identified, including informing the public.

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Chiropractors told to remove posts claiming their methods boost immune system and prevent COVID-19

There’s no scientific evidence that chiropractic care can boost your immune system, but that hasn’t stopped some chiropractors from touting the practice as a tool to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

The problem is so widespread that one Ontario man has filed at least 34 complaints against chiropractic clinics in the province alone in the past few weeks.

“As soon as there is public fear to exploit, these practitioners are really quick to get on message and promote this type of misinformation for their own profit,” said Ryan Armstrong, who runs an independent non-profit called Bad Science Watch.

WATCH | Ryan Armstrong talks about filing complaints against chiropractic clinics:

Ryan Armstrong has filed complaints with the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, after providers in the province wrongly claimed spinal manipulation could boost immunity. 0:46

He provided CBC News with copies of 34 complaints he recently filed with the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, along with the posts that triggered his complaints.

In one video Armstrong had captured, three practitioners stand in front of a whiteboard with the word “Coronavirus” on top and the words “Boost your immune system” underneath. During the video, they talk about coronavirus and the need to boost your immune system through chiropractic care. 

On Wednesday, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) said it has sent 54 cease and desist letters to practitioners since March 2. According to a statement from Dr. Dennis Mizel, the president of the college, the college had sent the letters “within hours of receiving information about potential inappropriate claims for the benefits of chiropractic.”

Third-party content

A different Facebook post that Armstrong shared with CBC News reads, “Covid-19? Now is the best time to see your Chiropractor! Spinal adjustments have been shown to boost your immune function.” 

This screen capture, provided to CBC News, shows a post from a Mississauga, Ont., chiropractic clinic. The post claims that spinal adjustments can boost immune function, a claim that isn’t back by scientific evidence. (Erin Mills Optimum Health/Facebook)

The post was from Erin Mills Optimum Health, a chain of four clinics in the Greater Toronto Area, and it has since been removed from Facebook.

In an email to CBC News, Dr. Ken Peever, a spokesman for the clinic, claimed the clinic did not knowingly place the post on their Facebook page. He said the first they heard of it was when the CCO sent a cease and desist letter on March 16. 

Peever said the clinic uses a third party to provide “monthly in-house newsletters and occasional social media posts” and that the clinic had never previously had an issue with this third party.

“I assume that this third party had already received feedback about this particular post from other clinics that it services and it removed the post,” Peever wrote.

He did not provide the name of the third party that posted the content. 

Governing bodies issue warnings

Across the country, provincial governing bodies have issued warnings to their members not to spread misinformation about chiropractic care and COVID-19.

The College of Chiropractors of B.C., the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors, the Manitoba Chiropractors Association and L’Ordre des chiropraticiens du Quebec have all put out statements in the last week or so.

Nationally, the Canadian Chiropractic Association has also warned members about making unsubstantiated claims. 

“We would be remiss to ignore the rise of misinformation at this difficult time. While we firmly believe in the efficacy and benefits of chiropractic care in supporting the health of Canadians, there is no scientific evidence that supports claims of a meaningful boost in immune function from chiropractic adjustments,” the association wrote in a post from March 16. 

‘No evidence to support that’

Tim Caulfield is used to critically examining health claims with dubious merit.

He is the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a professor at the University of Alberta, as well as the author of several books, including Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash.

WATCH | Timothy Caulfield warns about unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of chiropractic

Tim Caulfield says there is no scientific evidence that spinal manipulation can boost immune function. 0:50

Caulfield said spinal manipulation won’t boost immune function.

“There’s really no evidence to support that at all,” he said. “I’ve looked to find any kind of clinical support for that claim, and I can’t. I can’t find it.”

Caulfield said the danger right now is that these claims are adding to an already “chaotic information environment,” and muddy the waters as people search for good information.

“I feel like it’s sort of exploiting that state in order to sell a procedure,” he said. “That’s infuriating, and it adds to the confusion.” 

Calling chiropractic care to ward off coronavirus “a waste of money,” Caulfield said that it presents another problem as well.

“It just sort of erodes our critical thinking. It invites us to believe a sort of magical thinking about a procedure that has no science behind it.”

‘It undermines our democracy’

Armstrong, who lives in St. Thomas, Ont., has been monitoring chiropractors and said he has been filing complaints regarding claims practitioners make about spinal manipulation since 2017.

He has a PhD in biomedical engineering, but currently works in information security, and said he has never been to a chiropractor.  

In 2016, Armstrong saw a pamphlet from a local practitioner inviting cancer patients to get treatment through spinal manipulation. He said it puzzled him and he set about researching it, because he had previously only considered chiropractic in relation to musculoskeletal issues. 

He said it took him a while to research the issue. Once he felt confident he understood the science — or lack of it — he began to file complaints.

Armstrong said he saw posts from chiropractors touting immune benefits start to spring up about a month ago, and it worried him. 

“There’s very immediate harm from this type of misinformation. We have clinics that are non-essential services that are operating — not just operating, but having patients come in under the impression that they might be in some way protected from the pandemic,” he said. 

“Obviously that’s a very serious issue, especially [for] people who might already be immunocompromised and think that this might offer some benefit to them. They’re really putting themselves at risk,” he said.

It’s not just his science background that compels Armstrong to correct misinformation, however. 

“Ultimately, it undermines … our democracy and how we interact and understand each other and the world,” he said. “That’s what really, really drives me.”

CBC’s COVID Check unit is here to help you sift through the noise and get to the truth. If there is something you want us to check out and verify, contact us at covid@cbc.ca.

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Violinist plays Mahler and Gershwin as surgeons remove brain tumour

A patient at a British hospital played Mahler and Gershwin on the violin while a tumour was removed from her brain so that surgeons could preserve her ability to play music and her 40-year passion for the instrument.

Dagmar Turner, 53, a former management consultant from the Isle of Wight, played her violin during an operation to remove a tumour from the right frontal lobe of her brain — close to the area that controls the fine movement of her left hand.

To prevent any damage to her violin skills, Keyoumars Ashkan, consultant neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital in London, came up with a plan: they would map her brain, open the skull and then get her to play as they removed the tumour.

While surgeons cut away part of her brain, Turner played music by Gustav Mahler, George Gershwin’s jazz classic Summertime and pieces by Spanish songwriter and singer Julio Iglesias.

“This was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument,” said Ashkan, a fellow music lover. “We managed to remove over 90 per cent of the tumour, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”

Turner thanked the surgeons.

“The violin is my passion; I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old,” she said. “The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking.”

Turner, who plays in the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and various choral societies, left the hospital three days later and hopes to return to her orchestra soon. 

Last year, surgeons in the Netherlands published a case report on a professional violin player who played the instrument during surgery to remove a tumour in the left motor area.

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Jenna Dewan Files to Remove Channing Tatum’s Last Name Following Divorce

Jenna Dewan Files to Remove Channing Tatum’s Last Name Following Divorce | Entertainment Tonight

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Quebec’s college of physicians to investigate surgeries that remove incontinence sling

Quebec’s college of physicians is launching an inquiry into how surgeries to remove an incontinence sling are being performed in the province.

An investigation by Radio-Canada’s Enquête found 31 women who had been implanted with suburethral slings felt the need to have the devices surgically removed in the United States — because they no longer trusted that urologists in Quebec could perform the surgery properly. 

Every year, 11,000 women get sling implants in Canada to deal with incontinence. The slings are not meant for removal. They graft themselves quickly to tissue, muscle and sometimes bone, so when complications occur, recovery can be fraught with pain and pitfalls.

Studies show between 350 and 400 of those women will need to have their slings removed, either partially or completely.

In Quebec, partial withdrawals are more common. If, however, severe pain begins immediately after the implant, or is present on both sides of the hips, groin or legs, a complete sling withdrawal may be required. And that is where things get complicated.

‘Intense pain’

In November 2017, Lise Brouillard had a sling — made of plastic mesh — implanted under her urethra. She began to experience extreme pain almost immediately.

“Right out of surgery, I had an intense pain like I had never felt in my life,” she told Enquête.

The complications from suburethral slings are clearly outlined in both manufacturers’ brochures and Health Canada advisories, but in many cases, health professionals fail to recognize the symptoms when they occur.

In the seven months following Brouillard’s surgery, she was referred to a neurologist, a physiotherapist, an orthopedist, an osteopath, an acupuncturist and a specialist in sports medicine without anyone ever making the connection between her pain and the implanted sling.

According to the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), there are urologists in Quebec capable of completely removing the slings, but very few.

Brouillard went to one at the Jewish General Hospital to have hers completely removed. The sling had pierced her vaginal wall and seemed stuck to a nerve. After the surgery, Brouillard continued to feel some discomfort.

“There was something pulling right and left and I felt like an inflammation of the groin down the left leg. It was constant and sometimes painful,” she said.

Sections of the sling removed from Lise Brouillard during surgery. (Submitted by Dionysios Veronikis)

Brouillard’s surgeon told her all but one centimetre of the sling had been removed and it was likely not the cause of the discomfort.

After requesting her pathology report, she discovered only five centimetres — of a sling that usually measures around 20 centimetres — had actually been removed. She challenged her surgeon, who repeated his claim.

“You have to stop overreacting … I guarantee you it’s not the sling … there is one centimetre … on the right … and on the left side, there is absolutely nothing,” the urologist told Brouillard, in a recording obtained by Enquête.

“For what little remains of the sling, forget about it.”

Brouillard decided instead to get the sling fully removed by a doctor in St. Louis, Mo.

Uro-gynecologist Dionysios Veronikis operated and found an additional seven centimetres on the left and 10 centimetres on the right — a total of 17 centimetres the Quebec urologist had not removed.

Brouillard’s urologist in Quebec did not respond to requests for an interview.

Not an isolated case

Brouillard isn’t the only woman in the province to deal with similar issues.

Cynthia Gagné also turned to Dr. Veronikis after consulting several Quebec urologists. One offered to completely remove the sling, but since the doctor had few operations under her belt, Gagné chose instead to go to Missouri.

She started a support group on Facebook, now with nearly 600 members, all women who say they have experienced complications related to their slings. Over the last few months, 31 of them have, like Gagné, travelled to the United States to have their slings removed by Dr. Veronikis.

An example of what the sling, made of plastic mesh, looks like. (GYNECARE TVT)

Gagné does not question the general competence of Quebec urologists. She asks only that their lack of experience in complete sling withdrawals be recognized.

According to recordings obtained by Enquête​​​​​​, a Quebec urologist often referred to for full sling removals at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke claims a fully removed sling measures between 11 and 13 centimetres. 

Urologist Xavier Game, a leading expert in sling removals in France, estimates that the 50 or so slings he has removed measured between 15 to 20 centimetres.

Enquête also consulted the pathology reports of the 30 Quebec women who were operated on in the United States. On average, the length of the slings removed by Dr. Veronikis measure between 20 to 23 centimetres.

Investigation launched

Now, Quebec’s college of physicians says it is launching an investigation into the removal of the slings.

“The concept was to put it on a lifetime basis. It was not designed in order to remove them,” said Dr. Yves Robert, the secretary of the college.

“The real issue is to try to discover how to handle that and remove them when there is a complication, and there’s no real international consensus on this issue.”

Dr. Yves Robert, of Quebec’s college of physicians, will lead the investigations into the surgeries to remove suburethral slings. (CBC)

The goal of the inquiry is to identify the nature of the health problems, review the literature, consult with experts and establish a plan to investigate the symptoms experienced by patients.

Gagné wants the women who go to the United States for their surgeries to be reimbursed by Quebec’s health insurance board.

The Quebec Urological Association refused to answer questions or grant an interview.

In a letter, they wrote that “sling implants positively transform the lives of patients with incontinence and greatly improve their quality of life.” 

They added that “in certain cases, a partial removal of the sling can be necessary and this procedure can be performed by many urologists. In the far more rare cases where a full removal of the sling is required, our patients do not need to go elsewhere for this procedure. This type of surgery has been performed successfully in Quebec.”

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Toronto plastic surgeon told to remove security cameras from consult rooms

The regulatory body for doctors in Ontario has made a formal allegation of professional misconduct against a Toronto plastic surgeon who had security cameras in his consultation rooms.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has scheduled a disciplinary hearing in July for Dr. Martin Jugenburg, who markets himself online as Dr. Six. In the meantime, the college told him to remove the cameras, and he has done so. 

Last year, while reporting undercover for a story on breast implants, Marketplace producers spotted security cameras in a closed-door consultation room at Jugenburg’s clinic as well as in the waiting area. The small black devices were attached to the ceiling in the corner of the rooms.

The consultation rooms are where patients are regularly asked to remove their clothing during pre- and post-operative appointments.

The CBC producers, one posing as a potential patient and the other as her supportive friend, were not told about the security cameras. Several past patients of Jugenburg’s clinic say they were not told either, nor did they see any signs mentioning the cameras before staff asked them to undress for a consultation.

When one of the Marketplace producers asked about the camera during the appointment, a staff member said it was “for the doctor’s record,” and that the office had to document everything for “legal purposes.”

Later, when the nurse entered the room, she said the camera was “just a security camera, basically.”

“It’s to protect you, too” she said. “And him. Like if someone ever said something happened and it didn’t. Or stuff like that.”

WATCH: Clinic staff says security camera in consultation room is for ‘the doctor’s record’

Marketplace took a hidden camera into the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute to investigate the marketing practices around breast implant surgery 0:57

Grace, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said she had no idea cameras would be recording her breast implant consultation at Jugenburg’s clinic last year. If she had known, she never would have gone, she said.   

“You don’t expect a doctor to have a camera. So it’s not something that I was looking out for.”

After her consultation, Grace decided to book her surgery with a different plastic surgeon.

Grace first became aware of the cameras when she saw Marketplace’s story on YouTube.

“I felt pretty violated and very, very angry,” she said, recalling the moment she realized there may have also been cameras recording her consultation.

“My first thought was, ‘Why? What does he do with the videos?’ Because, honestly, why would a doctor want a video of people with their tops off? It’s not medically necessary. What was he using them for?”

One woman who visited Jugenburg’s clinic for a breast augmentation consultation said she would never have gone if she’d known there would be cameras recording the appointment. (CBC)

Grace says she is very private about her body and believes the clinic had no right to film her without permission.

“How would you feel if you went to a new doctor, you put your trust in them because they’re a doctor. And then, months later, you find out they videotaped you with your top off?” she said.

After she watched CBC’s story, Grace sent an email to Jugenburg’s clinic. Staff wrote back to her saying all of the footage is automatically deleted from their system every few weeks.

A few days later, the surgeon sent out an email to his past patients that confirmed cameras had been installed throughout the clinic about two years prior.

“The video footage captured on this system was for security purposes and to protect our team and our patients,” he said in the email. “The information was stored on a highly secure IT system with access limited to me or my senior office manager.”

He also apologized for not offering patients the opportunity to opt out of being filmed.

Investigation continues

Following CBC’s initial story, both the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the province’s privacy commissioner launched investigations into Jugenburg and his security cameras.

Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish won’t comment on the case because his investigation is still ongoing. But when CBC initially interviewed him in November, he called the situation “unacceptable” and “intrusive,” saying it was the first he had heard of a camera being used for surveillance in an examination room.  

He also said physicians using cameras for surveillance rather than strictly for clinical purposes — after a patient’s consent has been explicitly provided — is “unjustified and would likely be a breach of our privacy law.”

Beamish’s office wasn’t able to give a timeline for when its investigation would be complete.

Allegations ‘denied and being defended’

As for the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Jugenburg was already facing a disciplinary hearing in July for previous allegations of misconduct. These include violating advertising regulations, permitting a film crew into a surgical procedure without a patient’s consent and posting photos of the patient online without her consent.  

When CBC asked Jugenburg about these allegations in November, he said the allegations are “denied and being defended.”

A security camera, located in the upper left corner of this photo, is seen in the waiting room of the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute. The same style of camera was spotted in one of the clinic’s consultation rooms by a CBC producer who was posing undercover as a patient wanting breast augmentation in October 2018. (CBC)

The latest allegation that’s been added to the hearing’s agenda reads: “Dr. Jugenburg engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct, including … his use of video recording devices and/or video surveillance recording devices at his practice location.”

Back in March, prior to making the formal allegation about recording patients, the college told Jugenburg to remove all cameras from rooms where patients undress, and also required that the clinic post clear signage alerting visitors to video surveillance in areas like entranceways and waiting rooms.

When CBC asked Jugenburg in March about the college’s direction, he responded by email saying his staff are working with regulators to ensure his clinic is in compliance with all privacy and security standards and he confirmed that the consultation room cameras had been removed.  

“Patient privacy and safety remain paramount for us in delivering a quality health-care experience.”

As for Grace, she hopes Jugenburg faces consequences for his actions.

“I felt violated,” she said again. “And he had no right to do that.”

Jugenburg did not respond to emails seeking comment about the reaction of patients who spoke with CBC News, and whether he will contest the college’s new allegation against him. 

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