Daily Archives: January 20, 2013

Hardy Siberian children boost their immunity with buckets of cold water in MINUS 25C weather

kindergarten freeze
Despite the freezing temperatures in the city of Barnaul, a group of kindergarten children pour freezing water on themselves as part of their daily exercises

thesun.co.uk | Dec 26, 2012

IT’S minus 25C in Siberia, but it hasn’t stopped these kids enjoying the great outdoors.

Despite the freezing temperatures in the city of Barnaul, a group of kindergarten children pour freezing water on themselves as part of their daily exercises.

The children, with some as young as two, march into the freezing air and douse themselves with water from plastic pails.

The invigorating exercise is meant to do them good.

The kindergarten director Olesya Osintseva has 18 years experience working with children and believes the brutal regime keeps them healthy.

She encourages them to dress in swimming costumes, rub themselves in snow and frolic in the bitter cold.

And far from seeing it as a punishment, many of the children think it is great fun.

Olesya told The Siberian Times: “Some 18 years ago we gathered together teachers and doctors to speak about our children’s health.

“They were catching influenzas, and there were moments when half of the children attending the kindergarten were unwell.

“It was obvious that something needed to be done to make them grow stronger and be more resilient against viruses.

“This is how we came to the idea of boosting their immunity up by doing this exercise with buckets of chilly water outside in the cold.

“What six months of these water exercises showed was an immediately stronger resistance to illnesses. Our kids were now able to go to the kindergarten and even if someone had infection, they were no longer catching it.”

The children are not forced to join in with the soaking and parents can opt their children out.

Kids who do take part are out in the cold for around 90 seconds when they are encouraged to douse themselves in water and play in the snow.

According to the nursery, which is known as Rodnichok — or Water Spring, doctors confirm the children who do the exercises are more likely to make it through the flu season without illness.

Whatever happens, it’s all ‘climate change’

Snow-covered tombs on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives are one of many wild-weather events of recent months. Whatever happens, it’s all grist for the “climate change” mill. Bernat Armangue

Kansas City Star | Jan 19, 2013


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says last year was the hottest on record in the contiguous United States. As The New York Times put it in a recent headline, it was “not even close.”

A couple of days later, The Times published a roundup of global weather gone wild, reinforcing the shift that took place some time back, in which “global warming” became the more vague and menacing “climate change” — a semantic adjustment that neatly accounted for the annoying lack of statistically significant global warming in recent years.

Along with heat in the United States, The Times story described snow in Jerusalem, endless rain in Britain, heat waves in Brazil and Australia and an arctic air mass settling in from Central Europe to South Asia — a cold wave severe enough to cause several hundred deaths. In Siberia, it was so frigid that natural gas liquefied in its pipes.

Omar Baddour of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva told The Times that these events were a sign that, as the paper put it, “climate change is not just about rising temperatures but also about intense, unpleasant, anomalous weather of all kinds.”

In other words, if the temperature isn’t rising globally then “climate change” is pretty much anything bad that happens. I wish I could remember the blogger who crystallized the fallacy at work here, but he nailed it perfectly: If everything that happens becomes evidence for what you want to believe, how can you call it “science”?

The Earth may well start warming again and human activity may be the cause, but there are signs that many people have lost patience with the greens’ insistent predictions of doom.

At the “Watts Up With That” blog, meteorologist Anthony Watts found that search trends on Google for “global warming” and “climate change” have radically dropped off in recent years, while searches for “extreme weather” barely registered.

One reason may be that many people picked up on the dodginess of the shift from “global warming” to “climate change.” The Climategate scandal of 2009 — in which scientists wrote back and forth on how to thwart freedom-of-information filings or manipulate data — was a major blow to the theory’s credibility.

Then there’s the lack of significant warming since 1998, still the hottest year on record globally. What’s more, that trend will continue if you believe scientists at the British Met Office, an agency sometimes described as Britain’s NOAA.

The Met created a minor flap recently when, over the Christmas holiday, it posted a new set of predictions coughed up by its computer models. Unlike the previous year’s forecasts, these saw no significant warming for the next five years.

Moreover, the greens have failed to propose any workable policy levers for dealing with “climate change.”

The Kyoto process was stillborn given the refusal of big developing countries like China and India to participate. And the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade bill rightly died in the Senate. Politicians, especially in a chronically weak economy, aren’t likely to approve measures that could reduce growth and jobs even more, especially given the failure of climatologists to explain why global warming seems to have ceased.

The greens’ biggest problem is their tendency to package proposed remedies with a big dose of redemptive castor oil. We must do penance for our sins of waste, we’re told. But if they’d drop the moral exhibitionism, constructive options might appear.

You want a carbon tax? Fine. Make it revenue neutral and use the proceeds to lower the payroll tax — a direct levy on job creation — and cut taxes on saving and capital formation. That could well change the nation’s energy-use patterns, but I suspect many greens would see a downside: It might also accelerate growth and jobs.

Secession movement says White House rejection actually will ‘give it more life’

Coalition says White House rejection actually will ‘give it more life’

wnd.com | Jan 18, 2013

by Taylor Rose

A Southern heritage organization that has argued for an investigation of “injustices” committed by Union troops against the South during the Civil War now says the offhand dismissal by the White House of secession petitions filed by residents of all 50 states may actually help the movement.

“I think that this is going to rejuvenate and give it more life, and obviously we need to fan the flames and give it more oxygen,” said Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, which has numerous chapters across the United States.

The issue arose immediately after Barack Obama’s re-election in November. It got started with a petition on the White House website from Louisianans anxious to properly withdraw their state from the union.

In just days, residents of all 50 states had launched such petitions, gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures.

The petitions were ignored by the White House until just days ago, when Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, said no.

“As much as we value a healthy debate,” he wrote, “we don’t let that debate tear us apart.”

WND was the first news outlet in the nation to report when a Louisiana man began a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website, asking permission for his state to peacefully secede.

The Louisiana petition quoted from the Declaration of Independence: “‘Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.’”

According to the guidelines of the “We the People” website, when a petition reaches 25,000 signatures, the White House has pledged to put the petition in a queue for response.

Louisiana’s petition quickly reached that threshold and was followed by similar petitions from all 50 states, several of which also topped the 25,000 mark.

“Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect union’ through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government,” the White House said. “They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot – a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.

“As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, ‘in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual,’” the response continued. “In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that ‘[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.’”

The full response can be read here.

Now, in the wake of the White House statement, Hill told WND, “I was quite delighted to the response they gave.”

He said that’s because he believes the federal government continues to propagate the proposition that consolidated government is necessary.

“The League of the South and our allies have argued this proposition [of the federal government] for years now, and it is the same old excuse for consolidated government that we have seen since the 1830s, and it didn’t ring true then … and it doesn’t ring true now,” he said.

Hill said the “left” hasn’t read the Constitution closely.

It was not until the 1830s that philosophical presuppositions against secession emerged, he said.

“You had hacks in the 1830s that started to propose the notion that the federal government preceded the states. … This is a lie that holds no water,” he said.

He added that the current political establishment believes “that we are stuck in this [union] in perpetuity.”

But he said that concept in is conflict with the basic idea of freedom.

“Free men cannot be free unless they can decide their own futures,” he said.

The League also notes the Obama administration’s actions recently on guns and amnesty for illegal aliens.

“As a southern nationalist, I think that the whole Second Amendment issue can be dealt with in the short term by states rights, meaning nullification,” he said.

In that scenario, states simply refuse to acknowledge or enforce a federal mandate. In some states, there already are plans under consideration, including penalties for federal agents who might try to enforce a federal mandate that has been repudiated by the state.

“But in the longer term it can be dealt with very effectively by secession and southern independence,” Hill said. “If we were our own country we would not have to be subject to draconian gun laws being forced down our throats by the likes of Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.”

He predicts that if the federal government begins imposing federal bans on weapons, many states will consider “nullifying these gun laws, executive orders or court decisions that infringe upon our rights.”

Hill also noted that lawful authority has limitations and that the people should not be fearful of government authority.

“Those in positions of power who exceed the limits of lawful authority ought to be made to live in mortal fear of their transgressions. This is the foundation of a free and healthy society,” he said.

The group also stated the organization will not comply with Obama gun confiscation plans.

“The League of the South, the premier Southern nationalist organization, will not comply with any diminution of our God-given right to keep and bear the sort of arms a free people need to remain free. This means ‘assault weapons’ and high-capacity magazines. Moreover, we will view any attempt to deprive the Southern people of these tools as a criminal act by a criminal regime.”

It was a decade ago when the organization said it wanted an investigation of what the Union troops did to private property in the South during the Civil War.

The group at that time said, “The private property of non-combatants was ravaged, burned, stolen and destroyed as a deliberate policy of an unconstitutional war of invasion, conquest and occupation.”

The constitutionality of secession’s has been debated since long before Abraham Lincoln’s time. It’s continued to be an issue even since the Texas v. White Supreme Court decision cited in the White House response.

WND columnists Walter E. Williams and Alan Keyes have both argued secession is constitutional. A column by Williams cites historical evidence from both the Founding Fathers and the Civil War era.  Keyes’ argues God-given rights cannot be trumped by man-made law, Supreme Court decisions or civil war.

The Treasury Has Already Minted Two Trillion Dollar Coins

What the advocates of the $1 trillion coin are, therefore, proposing is to tax us in a hidden way.  This is not just taxation without representation.  It’s also taxation with misrepresentation.

While inflation, let alone hyperinflation, has not yet occurred, everything is in place for this outcome. 

forbes.com | Jan 19, 2013

by Laurence Kotlikoff

No doubt, you’ve heard about the latest irresponsible fiscal/monetary proposal to be floated by members of Congress and the erstwhile economist, Paul Krugman, whose lunch was just eaten by Jon Stewart.  

It entails having the Treasury avoid the federal debt limit by handing the Federal Reserve a single $1 trillion platinum coin.  The Fed would then credit the Treasury’s bank account with $1 trillion, which the Fed could spend on the President’s lunch, a $200 toilet seat, a new aircraft carrier, more Medicare spending – anything it wants.

Is there anything special about platinum? Well, yes.  The coin doesn’t have to contain $1 trillion worth of platinum.  It can be microscopic for all the Fed cares as long as they can use a electron microscope to read the $1 trillion In God We Trust inscription.   But it has to be made out of platinum.  No other metal or substance, like a piece of pizza, will do.  The reason is that the Treasury has the right, by an obscure law, to mint platinum coins, but only platinum coins.  Otherwise, making money by making money is the Fed’s domain.

Countries that pay for what they spend by printing money or, these days, creating it electronically, are usually broke.  That certainly fits our bill.

Our country is completely, entirely, and thoroughly broke.  In fact, we’re in worst fiscal shape than any developed country, including Greece.   We have fantastically large expenditures coming due in the form of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid payments to the baby boom generations – I.O.U.s, which we’ve conveniently kept off the books.

When the boomers are fully retired, Uncle Sam will need to cough up $3 trillion (in today’s dollars) per year to pay us (I’m one of us.) these benefits.   To put $3 trillion in perspective, it’s 1.5 times Russia’s GDP.

These benefits are called entitlements because, presumably, we feel we are entitled to hit up our children to cover their costs.  Borrowing from them and letting them tax themselves and their kids to pay themselves back is a good trick, but it’s running afoul of the debt ceiling.  Taxing them more and promising to the pay them benefits they’ll never receive is an old trick that’s run its course.  So we’re now onto printing money that will, we hope, raise prices only after we have protected our assets against inflation.

And we’re printing lots and lots of money.  Indeed, over the past five years, the Treasury has, in effect, done its $1 trillion coin trick twice.

Come again?

Well, substitute a $2 trillion piece of paper called a Treasury bond for the platinum coin.  Suppose the Treasury prints up such a piece of paper and hands it to the Fed and the Fed puts $2 trillion into its account.  No difference right, except for the lack of platinum.

Next suppose the Treasury doesn’t hand the $2 trillion bond to the Fed directly, but hands it to John Q. Public who gives the Treasury $2 trillion and then hands the bond to the Fed in exchange for $2 trillion.  What’s the result?  It’s the same.  The Treasury has $2 trillion to spend.  John Q. Public has his original $2 trillion.  And the Fed is holding the piece of paper labeled U.S. Treasury bond.

Finally, suppose the Treasury does this operation in smaller steps and over five years, specifically between 2007 and today.  It sells, i.e., hands to John Q. in exchange for money, smaller denomination bonds, which Johns Q. sells to the Fed, i.e., hands to the Fed in exchange for money.   Further, suppose the sum total of all these bond sales to the public and Fed purchases of the bonds from the public equals $2 trillion.  Voila, you’ve got U.S. monetary policy since 2007.

In 2007, the monetary base – the amount of money our government printed in its entire 231 years of existence totaled $800 billion.  Today it totals $2.8 trillion.  And it increased by this amount via the process just described – the Treasury’s effective minting out of thin air two $1 trillion platinum coins.

Now what happens when the Treasury spends its freebee money?  It raises prices of the goods and services we buy or keeps them from falling as much as would otherwise be the case.  Either way, the money we have in our pockets or in the bank or coming to us over time as, for example, interest plus principal on bonds we’ve bought in the past – all this money loses purchasing power.  So we are effectively taxed $2 trillion.

What the advocates of the $1 trillion coin are, therefore, proposing is to tax us in a hidden way.  This is not just taxation without representation.  It’s also taxation with misrepresentation.   The fact that a Nobel Laureate in economics would propose this without making clear this fact raises the question of whether his prize should be revoked.  Lance Armstrong, after all, is losing his medals for discrediting his profession.  Perhaps the Nobel committee should consider taking back Krugman’s.

This is no innocent omission.  Every PhD economist is taught about seigniorage.  It’s a term that was coined (excuse the pun) in the 15th century and stems from the right of feudal lords – seignurs – to coin money, use it to buy, say, chickens and debase the purchasing power of the coins they had given their serfs in the past for, say, wild boar.

Today, 12 cents out of ever dollar being spent by our government is being printed.  As indicated, the money supply has more than tripled.  While inflation, let alone hyperinflation, has not yet occurred, everything is in place for this outcome.  If you want to see what things will look like, check out Zimbabwe, which has surely been reading Krugman’s articles.

Bill Gates added $7billion to his wealth in 2012 alone (and that’s AFTER he gave away $28million)

gates needle 2
Baby you’re a rich man: Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates increased his wealth by $7billion this year, despite giving away $28million

Microsoft founder Bill Gates named by Bloomberg as wealthiest tech billionaire with estimated $62.7billion net worth

dailymail.co.uk | Jan 3, 2013

By Beth Stebner

Despite giving away a staggering $28million dollars in 2012, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates increased his wealth by $7billion this year.

And with a new net worth around $62.7billion, the 57-year-old Seattle native was named the richest tech billionaire by Bloomberg’s annual Billionaire’s Index.

But Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg slipped down on the list after losing $5.2billion, and now sits as only the tenth richest billionaire.

Bill Gates interview: I have no use for money. This is God’s work

According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index, which was published yesterday, Mr Gates earned some of his $7billion this year from a spike in Microsoft stocks, which went up 2 percent this year.

In addition, Business Insider reports that the philanthropist, who has given a sizable endowment to the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, has capitalized a company called Cascade Investments.

In a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was revealed that Mr Gates owns shares in companies like Coca-Cola and tractor company John Deere & Co.

Mr Zuckerberg, however, was one of the few billionaires on the list that suffered a loss.

The 28-year-old Facebook founder lost $5.3billion after his company went public in May, due in part to a botched IPO and over-hype on the stock’s initial worth.

Last week, the California resident also donated nearly $500million in stock to a Silicon Valley charity, his largest donation to date that also breaks the largest single philanthropic donation to education in 2012.

Beneficiary Silicon Valley Community Foundation said they were ‘thrilled’ by the gift aimed at funding health and education issues. The non-profit which works with donors to allocate their gifts.

Despite Mr Gates’ wealth, which appears to be growing at an exponential rate, Mexico’s Carlos Slim still remains the world’s richest man.

According to Bloomberg, the world’s billionaires added a collective $241billion to their net worth’s.
Mr Gates was born in Seattle in 1955. In 1975, he dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft with a childhood friend.

He received an honorary doctorate from the institution in 2007.

Invasion of the foreign supercops: Minister wants Americans to take over British police

Mr Bratton (L), former head of New York City Police and the Los Angeles Police Department, was drafted in by David Cameron to advise on tackling gang warfare in Britain in 2011.

Former Army officers will be recruited as police superintendents
Changes rip up tradition of only British citizens serving in the police

dailymail.co.uk | Jan 19, 2013

By Simon Walters

Foreign crimebusters such as US supercop Bill Bratton will be given the chance to take over British police forces under radical new plans to be unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May.

And former Army officers will be recruited as police superintendents in an attempt to end the ‘closed shop’ police culture blamed for bungled investigations and corruption. The changes, set to be fiercely opposed by police chiefs, rip up the centuries-old tradition of only British citizens serving in the police.

They also abolish the rule that senior policemen have to work their way up from being a bobby on the beat.

L.A. Police Chief to Lead Unit Seeking Big U.S. Contracts

Queen makes former NYPD commissioner Bratton Commander of the British Empire on September 11th

Queen Elizabeth to make Masonic LA police chief a Commander of the Order of the British Empire on September 11th

Mrs May believes there are too few talented people at the top of the police. Crucially, she hopes the shake-up will lead to more women and people from ethnic minorities in high command. The reforms will have a major effect on policing at three levels:

  • Graduates in their 20s will be offered a fast-track ‘direct entry’ to the police with promotion to inspector rank in just three years, without having to work as constables before they are promoted.
  • Former Army officers, businessmen and others from the private sec-tor in their 30s and 40s with ‘exceptional achievements and abilities’ will be encouraged to apply for jobs as super-intendents.
  •   Newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners will be given permission to recruit chief constables from the US, Australia and other English-speaking nations with UK-style ‘common law policing by consent’.

Mr Bratton, former head of New York City Police and the Los Angeles Police Department, was drafted in by David Cameron to advise on tackling gang warfare in Britain in 2011.

The Prime Minister had suggested putting him in charge of the Metropolitan Police but was forced to drop the plan after protests by British police chiefs. In the end, the job advert said ‘only British citizens can apply’.

Mrs May’s initiative follows mounting controversy over policing in the UK highlighted by the cover-up in the Hillsborough stadium disaster, police conduct in the phone-hacking scandal and the ‘plebgate’ row between former Minister Andrew Mitchell and Downing Street officers.

Her controversial decision to cut constables’ starting pay by £4,000 can now be seen as part of a major overhaul of police recruitment and salaries.

Ministers privately complain that one of the major problems in fighting crime is the ‘lack of talent’ in senior policing posts.

A Downing Street source said: ‘It will bring a breath of fresh air to policing. We can’t slam the door in the face of talent just because they haven’t paced the high street as a PC. And without these changes, it will take decades to change the all-white and all-male image of the police.’

When Mr Cameron first suggested hiring Mr Bratton, he said: ‘Why shouldn’t someone with a different skill-set be able to join the police force in a senior role? Why shouldn’t someone who has been a proven success overseas be able to help turn around a force at home?’

But Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: ‘I am not sure I want to learn about gangs from an area of America that has 400 of them.

The notion that you can ship someone in from another country to run a police force in a  different environment and a different culture is quite simply stupid.’

Mr Bratton, 65, became renowned for his ‘no-nonsense’ approach to policing when he was in charge of America’s two largest police departments.

He halved New York’s murder rate and cut violent crime by 50 per cent in Los Angeles.


FBI Uses Portable Device to Track Cell Phone Users


allgov.com | Jan 14, 2013

by Matt Bewig

Even on dry land, Americans should fear the stingray. Not the flat cartilaginous fishes related to sharks, but the secret government surveillance device that not only tracks suspected criminals but also intercepts the private information of law-abiding citizens who happen to be nearby. Now, because of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and lawsuit brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) against the FBI, the government is slowly releasing thousands of relevant documents that are already raising alarms among privacy and civil liberties advocates.

The stingray came to public notice in 2011 when the FBI used a “cell-site simulator” to track down a suspect. This portable device, also called an “IMSI catcher” or a “stingray,” sends out a signal that fools nearby wireless phones into connecting with a fake network. It can then capture all sorts of personal data from all of those phones, including location data that can then be used to track a person’s movements in real time. A stingray can be handheld or mounted on a motor vehicle or an unmanned surveillance drone.

As the FBI has admitted to EPIC, because the stingray fools all nearby wireless phones into connecting with its bogus network and uploading private data to it, its use would constitute a “search and seizure” under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and thus require a warrant. However, because the FBI argues that wireless phone users have no reasonable expectation to privacy, the agency says it does not need a warrant. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the privacy of cell phone calls.

Enter the FBI’s ‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker, Able to Locate Cell Phones Even When Not In Use

In addition to (probably) violating the constitution, the use of stingrays is also prohibited by federal law. Although heavily redacted, the files reluctantly released by the FBI reveal snippets of internal Justice Department discussions of how to justify use of the stingray as compliant with the provisions of the Communications Act that prohibit “interference” with communication signals like those of wireless phones.

These documents demonstrate, according to EPIC attorney Alan Butler, that “there are clearly concerns, even within the agency, that the use of Stingray technology might be inconsistent with current regulations. I don’t know how the DOJ justifies the use of Stingrays given the limitations of the Communications Act prohibition.”

Nor is it just the FBI. According to a recent report, local police are “quietly” using stingrays in Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Worth, and Gilbert, Arizona. And likely other places, as well.

To Learn More:

FBI Documents Shine Light on Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool (by Ryan Gallagher, Slate)

EPIC v. FBI – Stingray / Cell Site Simulator FOIA Case (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

“Stingray” Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash (by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Wall Street Journal)

Judge Questions Tools That Grab Cellphone Data on Innocent People (by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Wall Street Journal)


Toxic mercury ban treaty exempts vaccines for children

In this April 22, 2012, file photo, Holly Ann Haley, 4, gets vaccinations at the doctor’s office in Berlin, Vt., although the state continues to be embroiled in a debate about continuing to allowing parents to have their children skip the immunizations required for most to attend school. (Associated Press)

The treaty says that certain mercury-added products, such as batteries, lamps, switches, skin-lightening cosmetics, pesticides and thermometers, may not be manufactured, imported or exported no later than 2020.

Mercury-added dental amalgams are also to be phased out.

Treaty on mercury would not affect vaccines with thimerosal

Washington Times | Jan 19, 2013

By Cheryl Wetzstein

A global treaty to reduce toxic mercury in the environment has been completed and will be presented to countries for their agreement to control and reduce ways in which mercury is used, released or emitted.

Negotiations on the Minamata Convention on Mercury, named for the Japanese city that suffered severe mercury poisoning in the 1950s, finished in Switzerland on Saturday.

“Everyone in the world stands to benefit from the decisions take this week in Geneva — in particular, the workers and families of small-scale gold miners, the peoples of the Arctic, and this generation of mothers and babies and the generations to come,” said Achim Steiner, United Nations undersecretary-general and executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, which facilitated the meeting of delegates from 140 member states.

The treaty says that certain mercury-added products, such as batteries, lamps, switches, skin-lightening cosmetics, pesticides and thermometers, may not be manufactured, imported or exported no later than 2020.

Mercury-added dental amalgams are also to be phased out.

However, certain mercury-added products are to be exempted from the ban, including those used for military and civil protection, products with no mercury-free alternative, products used in religious or traditional practices and vaccines containing thimerosal, an ethylmercury preservative.

The omission of thimerosal-containing vaccines from the ban disappointed advocates who believe the preservative plays a role in sickening some children.

“Children’s health took a backseat to special interests. The only major purposeful exposure to mercury that didn’t get addressed was thimerosal,” said Eric Uram, executive director at SafeMinds, which seeks to eradicate autism and other health disorders caused by mercury and man-made toxicants.

However, use of thimerosal vaccines was supported by specialists who advise the World Health Organization, and groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Fifteen years of research “has failed to yield any evidence of significant harm” — including disorders such as autism — from using thimerosal in vaccines, Dr. Walter Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University in Georgia, wrote in AAP’s Dec. 17, 2012, Pediatrics journal.

Millions of children in the developing world depend on multidose vaccines that can be stored without refrigeration; thimerosal prevents bacteria or pathogens from growing in these vaccines, added researchers Katherine King and colleagues in Pediatrics. “Banning thimerosal would amount to banning such multidose vaccines” that currently protect children from tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and hepatitis B, they wrote.

The United States uses thimerosal-free vaccines, except in some flu shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mercury is highly toxic to humans and animals when inhaled or ingested, and is particularly harmful to developing brains and nervous systems in children and fetuses.

Global mercury pollution, which will be curtailed under the new treaty, occurs through emissions from mining, power plants, smelters and cement production. Mercury has entered the global food chain, especially via fish and shellfish; shark, swordfish, tilefish and King Mackerel should not be eaten because of their high mercury concentrations, the Food and Drug Administration advises.

The signing of the global mercury ban will occur in October in Minamata, where thousands of Japanese citizens suffered death and injury from eating methylmercury-contaminated seafood from their local waters. It was later discovered that a local chemical factory had released its industrial wastewater into the surrounding waterways.